Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

FAA: software upgrade, not ERAM, likely caused flight cancellations, delays

A software upgrade to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar operations in Virginia, not the long-delayed and much-anticipated En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) system, likely caused the problems that compelled the agency to issue a flight restriction in the busy corridor and forcing airlines to cancel hundreds of flights.

Noting that the upgrade was aimed at providing controllers with additional tools, the FAA said in a statement on Facebook that it “has disabled the new features while the agency and its system contractor completes their assessment.”

The agency said the restriction – which lasted from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday - resulted in 492 delays as well as 476 cancellations.

The FAA statement also noted that the ERAM system, which switched flight tracking from radar to satellite, is not suspect and “has had a greater than 99.99 percent availability rate since it was completed nationwide earlier this year.”

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