PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Wednesday, more than one thousand flights nationwide were canceled and thousands more were delayed. It happened following an FAA system outage that grounded flights coast-to-coast for hours.
Wednesday morning, Julie and Holly Risinger were preparing to fly out of Peoria International Airport to Chicago, before eventually landing in Germany. The mother and daughter’s arrived at the airport to find out their flight was delayed, with no notification from their airline.
“We’re at the airport and they’re like oh sorry. And then our next connection from Chicago to New York, that’s most likely going to be messed up,” said Julie Risinger, a local traveler.
They were far from alone as an FAA system outage temporarily stopped flights from departing across the country.
“I am headed to new Smryna Beach, Florida,” said Kim Kirchner, a local traveler. “Was so excited about going until I got here and found out that due to the FAA outage, my flights were delayed an hour to an hour and a half.”
The director of airports at PIA said the nationwide pause on air travel was the result of issues with the FAA’s NOTAM system.
“It’s basically the system where flight information gets disseminated to airlines, general aviation, any pilot that’s going to fly,” said Gene Olson, director of airports at PIA. “Is it a common thing? Heck no, this has never happened before.”
In Peoria, the outage directly led to one flight being canceled and a handful of delays.
“Allegiant would be less impacted by this because their flights are point-to-point, whereas, American and United they’re flights are going through big hubs,” Olson said.
The FAA lifted the flight ground stop at around 8 AM Central, but with residual delays expected, some families made the most out of the time they spend in the airport.
“Wherever we are we’re together and that’s what this trip is about,” Risinger said.
Two flights at Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington were delayed but were able to depart later on Wednesday.
The cause of the FAA outage will be investigated and federal officials say there’s no evidence of a cyberattack so far.