Frustrated passengers experiencing delays and cancellations at JIA after nationwide grounding

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Update 6:48 p.m. on Jan. 11: The most recent statement from the FAA states:

“The FAA is continuing a thorough review to determine the root cause of the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system outage. Our preliminary work has traced the outage to a damaged database file. At this time, there is no evidence of a cyberattack. The FAA is working diligently to further pinpoint the causes of this issue and take all needed steps to prevent this kind of disruption from happening again.”

—  FAA statement

A nationwide grounding was implemented on Wednesday after a computer system failure, leaving thousands stuck or delayed at local and nationwide airports.

“We were supposed to leave about 11:15 A.M.,” Mary Neff said. “Now, we’re gonna leave about 5:30 P.M.”

No flights were allowed in or out of the Jacksonville International Airport (JIA) for nearly three hours.

RELATED: FAA says flights are beginning to move across the country following system outage

“I literally got here and it wasn’t until 10-15 minutes before my flight was supposed to take off that I finally found out that this all happened,” Billy Fletcher said. He’s traveling to Utah. “So, it is very frustrating.”

Several others said they weren’t notified about the issues until they were at the airport.

“I didn’t hear anything from Delta,” Alex Fanning said. “It would have been nice if they would have sent out an email or something, letting everyone know that ‘hey we got flight delays.’”

“What happened, essentially, is that overnight there was a failure in a notification system,” Michael McCormick said. He’s an Assistant Professor at the College of Aviation.

The ‘Notice to Air Missions’ system helps share critical information about airports and flight conditions, according to McCormick. When it failed, pilots tried to use a manual workaround, which temporarily worked.

“Of course as traffic started to get heavier, as daylight approached and more international traffic started to fly into the united states, that’s when the workload became too great to handle manually,” McCormick said. “I don’t believe that anybody was aware of what the impact would have been if it had continued further.”

RELATED: Ripple effect of delayed flights at JIA after a nationwide ground stop from the FAA

As of 4:22 P.M., Thursday, there were 69 delays at JIA and seven cancellations, according to FlightAware.

“When we dropped off the rental car, [we] found out the flight had been canceled,” Neff said.

She was quickly re-booked but would be spending six hours at the airport waiting for her flight.

It’s unclear why the system malfunctioned in the first place. A full investigation is being conducted. The FAA said it does not appear to be a cyber-attack.

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