The computer failure that forced the U.S. Civil Aviation Administration (FAA) to temporarily suspend U.S. domestic flights Jan. 11 was caused by a contractor who accidentally deleted files, the FAA said Thursday.
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The agency previously blamed a corrupted database file for the outage that led to thousands of cancellations and delays on Jan. 11.
A preliminary report showed that a contractor “unintentionally deleted files while working on synchronization between the main database and the backup database,” the agency said on Thursday.
Investigations are ongoing, but the agency claims it hasn’t found any evidence linking the incident to a malicious act or cyberattack.
On the other hand, the FAA is taking steps to make the relevant information system, which is designed to warn aircraft crew members in real time of potential hazards on the ground or in the air, “more resilient”.
US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said Jan. 11 he had asked the FAA to determine the causes of the problem and explain why the systems that were supposed to take over in the event of problems didn’t work.