Flights at US airports disrupted by tech problems

WASHINGTON • Hundreds of flights out of major airports in New York and Washington have been delayed or cancelled because of a computer problem at a regional air traffic control centre, aviation officials said.

Flights at Washington's Dulles International Airport, Reagan National Airport and Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) were among those affected on Saturday, as well as those at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport.

Tracking service FlightAware reported that around 400 flights had been delayed or cancelled across those airports.

A board at the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport displays flights which had been delayed or cancelled.
A board at the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport displays flights which had been delayed or cancelled. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Some flights at BWI were pushed back more than three hours, while a number of travellers at Dulles were told to expect delays of more than an hour.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), referring to the control centre in the US state of Virginia, just south of Washington, said: "The FAA is diagnosing an automation problem at an air traffic centre in Leesburg.

"Some flights into and out of the New York and Washington, DC metro area airports may be delayed."

It added that it was directing high-altitude traffic around the affected airspace.

BWI warned passengers to check with airlines for travel updates as the issue was being handled.

The affected airports are among the country's busiest, especially in the summer holiday months.

The delays had nothing to do with accidents or hacking, an aviation official said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2015, with the headline 'Flights at US airports disrupted by tech problems'. Print Edition | Subscribe