Rick Scott Demands Answers From FAA Over Grounded Flights, Buttigieg Clueless
Sen. Rick Scott on Wednesday called for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to provide a full briefing to Congress regarding the nationwide technical outage that caused mass flight cancellations and delays. The FAA canceled over 1,000 flights and delayed over 6,700 flights due to the administration’s Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system failing, which alerts pilots about conditions that could affect the safety of their flights.
Scott took to Twitter to express his concern, stating,
“Safety is always the top priority, but leaving millions of travelers stranded and delayed to their destinations is not okay. I expect @FAANews and @SecretaryPete to immediately provide a FULL briefing to Congress on what happened and how they will ensure it NEVER happens again.”
Safety is always the top priority, but leaving millions of travelers stranded and delayed to their destinations is not okay.
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) January 11, 2023
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he had “no idea” what went wrong.
WATCH: Pete Buttigieg says he has no idea ‘what went wrong’ with today’s massive flight delays. pic.twitter.com/xjGS5Z8mgi
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) January 11, 2023
As of Wednesday morning, the FAA had fully restored the NOTAM system, with all flights scheduled to resume. The FAA has not yet offered an explanation for the initial computer issue.
“Normal air traffic operations are resuming gradually across the U.S. following an overnight outage to the Notice to Air Missions system that provides safety info to flight crews. The ground stop has been lifted. We continue to look into the cause of the initial problem,” the FAA News account tweeted. “All flights currently in the sky are safe to land.”
Update 5: Normal air traffic operations are resuming gradually across the U.S. following an overnight outage to the Notice to Air Missions system that provides safety info to flight crews. The ground stop has been lifted.
We continue to look into the cause of the initial problem
— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) January 11, 2023
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg did not rule out the possibility of a cyber attack as the cause for the FAA’s technical outage. “The FBI has spoken to this, and of course, FAA is looking at that as well,” Buttigieg said during an interview on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, “Again, what I would say is there’s no direct indication of any kind of external or nefarious activity. But we’re not yet prepared to rule that out.”
FAA has determined that the safety system affected by the overnight outage is fully restored, and the nationwide ground stop will be lifted effective immediately. I have directed an after-action process to determine root causes and recommend next steps.
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) January 11, 2023
Buttigieg is no stranger to air traffic crises. Last month, Southwest canceled more than 16,000 flights citing winter storm issues. Last year, more than 25,000 flights were delayed over the 4th of July weekend. Buttigieg has been criticized during his tenure for taking long absences from his job and devoting public resources to dismantling highways he believes to be racist.
Rick Scott has been vocal in recent years about the need for transparency in the FAA and Department of Transportation. Scott demanded a congressional hearing following a resignation letter from the FAA’s chief administrator last February.
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