New details emerge in air travel meltdowns involving FAA, Southwest


The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday identified the contractor involved in the failure of a safety bulletin system that led to a nationwide ground shutdown, and said it would bar directly involved personnel from accessing agency buildings and systems during an investigation.

The announcement came one day after the Transportation Department released new details of its investigation into flight disruptions at Southwest Airlines that stranded more than 1 million travelers over the holidays.

In the most recent problem for air travelers, an outage of the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system began when contract workers inadvertently deleted data, leading to a nationwide shutdown of air traffic on Jan. 11 for the first time since Sept. 11. , 2001, Attacks.

Bethesda-based Spatial Front says it had more than 50 employees at FAA offices working on more than 90 “mission-critical” systems, including the NOTAM system, according to an archived version of its website. This information was removed from his site as of Thursday morning.

Also Read :  Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards Meet In Japan, Continuing NBA’s International Push

FAA meltdown has injected uncertainty, even for military pilots

Melanie P. Harrison, Spatial Front’s director of business development, said Thursday that the company will soon issue a statement.

The first disruption to air travel occurred in late December, when Southwest canceled more than 16,700 flights over an 11-day period. Federal regulators said Thursday they are investigating whether Southwest executives misled customers by selling tickets for flights they knew the carrier would not operate.

Details of the DOT probe came as Southwest announced Thursday that the operational breakdown will cost the company $800 million in related expenses. As a result, the airline reported a loss of $220 million in the last quarter of 2022, surprising some analysts who expected the airline to still make a profit despite the problems.

Also Read :  Online Laundry Services Market to Hit $221.05 Billion by 2030: Grand View Research, Inc.

Southwest ignored calls to upgrade tech before the meltdown, unions say

Southwest executives discussed the incident in an earnings call Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, aviation safety issues and corporate liability of a different kind were the focus in a federal court in Fort Worth.

Boeing was scheduled to stand trial Thursday on charges that it conspired to defraud the United States about the safety of its 737 Max jets — something the company avoided when it pleaded guilty on Jan. 6. .

Boeing must face public fraud charges in 737 Max deaths, judge says

Thursday’s court appearance was mandated by US District Judge Reed O’Connor after a long and ongoing legal battle led by family members of the 346 people killed when a faulty automation system forced planes to max out in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia in 2019. The members were set to address Boeing and the judge in court.

Also Read :  Australia in cyber diplomacy drive to combat regional ransomware

The family members are asking the judge to require Boeing to meet three “conditions of release” related to the sentencing: that Boeing does not commit new crimes, that Boeing’s safety and ethics practices are subject to a judicial monitor and that details of what Boeing did. to improve security as part of the completed prosecution agreement will be released to the victim and the public “to ensure that efforts are effective,” according to court filings.

Boeing declined to comment Thursday, but it previously told the court it continued to meet the terms of its agreement with the Justice Department, which it says sets out what actions it must take. Boeing said in the court filing that although the families have faced “irreparable losses,” they are not entitled to overturn the agreement. “Boeing was and is entitled to rely on this contract,” it said.

This story is being updated.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.