Covering the Land of Lincoln

Computer issues ground flights at ILM, lead to cancellations, delays

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Travelers had to wait a bit longer for takeoff from Wilmington’s ILM Airport on Wednesday after the FAA grounded all US flights due to a computer system outage.

“The Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system is the system pilots use to get information about the airport they’re going to [and] information about things that may affect their trip or their navigation,” said ILM Airport director Jeffrey Bourk. “That’s what’s really causing the delays”

That program is back online, but not before many passengers had to rearrange their travel plans.

“It’s a family reunion in San Diego,” said Carolyn & Philip Spangler. “We have two brand new grandchildren and another son is going to be there from Champaign, Illinois.”

The Spanglers ended up booking a flight that left earlier than they originally planned. Others weren’t so lucky and made plans in case their flight was canceled altogether.

“I’ll have my son come pick me up and we’ll go back to his place and figure it out,” said Tim Compinger, who was traveling to Maine.

Leaders at ILM say there’s not much they can do to get things back on schedule.

“This is really an airline issue to deal with the customers we’re going to support them however we can,” Bourk said.

As they wait to find out if they’ll be going anywhere, passengers have some words of wisdom for those flying on Thursday.

“Expect delays,” said Compinger. “Luckily, this is not a very busy airport so it’s not crazy but it could get worse.”

The FAA is still investigating the cause of Wednesday’s outage. Officials believe a damaged database file may have caused the issue. At this time, there is no evidence of a cyber attack.

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