Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian on Friday urged Congress to boost funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) following this week’s computer system outage that grounded U.S. flights for hours.
Bastian said the FAA meltdown, which led to more than 10,000 delays on Wednesday, was “unacceptable,” but placed blame on lawmakers for not prioritizing the agency.
“I lay this on the fact that we are not giving them the resources, the funding, the staffing, the tools, the technology they need to modernize the technology system. Hopefully this will be the call to our political leaders in Washington that we need to do better,” Bastian said in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
The FAA was forced to ground flights after its Notice to Air Missions system, or NOTAM, failed early Wednesday morning. The system is essential for pilots, notifying them of potential hazards along their route.
The agency on Thursday blamed the outage on a damaged data file, which was corrupted after FAA personnel “failed to follow procedures.”
The NOTAM system is three decades old, and the FAA wasn’t planning on replacing it until around 2030, but this week’s outage sparked calls for a faster timeline.
“I don’t recall us ever shutting down the national airspace due to a similar type of technology outage for several hours,” Bastian said.
Congress is set to pass new FAA funding legislation this year, potentially creating an avenue to provide more resources.
“The number one priority is safety. As the committee prepares for FAA reauthorization legislation, we will be looking into what caused this outage and how redundancy plays a role in preventing future outages. The public needs a resilient air transportation system,” Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said in a statement.
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines