Takeoffs from airports across the country ground to a halt Wednesday morning as the Federal Aviation Administration scrambled to restore a failing computer system, with some 4,000 flights delayed before the system came back online.
The failure’s cause remains unknown, though the FAA and White House have said that there’s no evidence of a cyberattack. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted that the system, which the FAA uses to notify pilots of temporarily closed runways and airspace and other essential safety information, has been “fully restored” and that he had “directed an after-action process to determine root causes and recommend next steps.”
The sudden failure of the system, especially just days after Southwest Airlines had to delay thousands of flights over multiple days due to their own system failures, places Buttigieg firmly in sight for a newly emboldened Republican caucus eager to pound the Biden administration over its policies and decisions.
Republicans have tried several tacks to poke holes in Buttigieg, who is still a contender for a future political run, without much traction.
President Joe Biden said Tuesday morning that he’d spoken to Buttigieg about the issue and asked DOT to “to report directly to me when they find out” what caused the outage.