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Missouri Rep. Sam Graves calls FAA computer outage 'huge vulnerability in our air transportation system'

Posted at 2:40 PM, Jan 11, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rep. Sam Graves, who represents Missouri’s 6th District, which includes parts of the Kansas City area and most of northern Missouri, has released a statement on the FAA computer outage that happened Wednesday morning.

“While it appears at this time that the Notice to Air-Missions- or NOTAM-system malfunction was not a result of a cybersecurity breach, it highlights huge vulnerability in our air transportation system,” Graves said in a statement, “Just as SouthWest’s widespread disruption, just a few weeks ago was inexcusable, so too is the DOT’s and FAA’s failure to properly maintain and operate air traffic control system.”

The FAA outage grounded departures around airports nationally until 8 a.m.

According to FlightAware, the outage affected over 4,013 flights across the country by around 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Graves, who was recently chosen as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, also says the issues with the FAA outline how understaffed the FAA is currently.

“The FAA does not run on autopilot – it needs skilled, dedicated, and permanent leadership in positions across the agency, starting with the Administrator’s office,” Graves said.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran also released a statement on the FAA outage, calling the situation a "failure."

“Our nation's travelling public deserves safety and continuity of service. Today’s failure to provide that highlights the importance in identifying the root cause of this system failure to ensure it does not happen again. As co-chair of the Senate Travel and Tourism Caucus and a member of the Senate Commerce Committee with jurisdiction over the FAA, I will speak with FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen to ensure the root cause of this failure is identified. As demand for travel returns at an unprecedented rate, our economy is dependent on ensuring a reliable air travel system," Moran said.

This is the second major issue that has occurred at the airport in the past three weeks, the first occurring over the holidays after cancellations from Southwest Airlines hampered travel. Southwest canceled 16,700 flights from Dec. 21, 2022, through Dec. 31, 2022, costing the company between $725 million and $825 million.