After a system failure with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded flights across the United States, the U.S. Travel Association is calling on the federal government to overhaul air travel infrastructure.
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman issued a statement after more than 7,600 flights were delayed and over 1,000 were canceled due to issues with the Notice to Air Missions system (NOTAM).
“Today’s FAA catastrophic system failure is a clear sign that America’s transportation network desperately needs significant upgrades,” Freeman said. “Americans deserve an end-to-end travel experience that is seamless and secure.”
“And our nation’s economy depends on a best-in-class air travel system,” Freeman continued. “We call on federal policymakers to modernize our vital air travel infrastructure to ensure our systems are able to meet demand safely and efficiently.”
FAA officials announced that the ground stop was lifted and normal air traffic operations are gradually resuming across the U.S. following an overnight outage. The government agency said it would launch an investigation into the incident.
The U.S. government is already heavily scrutinizing the aviation industry after Southwest Airlines canceled more than 16,700 flights between December 21-31. The issues were caused by a massive series of winter storms and then complicated by the carrier’s outdated IT infrastructure.
According to U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, the Commerce Committee spoke with Southwest CEO Bob Jordan and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about the issue and “will be holding hearings for Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization to examine how to strengthen consumer protections and airline operations.”
Senator Cantwell now says the committee will examine the FAA meltdown.
“The number one priority is safety,” Cantwell said. “As the Committee prepares for FAA reauthorization legislation, we will be looking into what caused this outage and how redundancy plays a role in preventing future outages. The public needs a resilient air transportation system.”
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