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US flights back to normal after software glitch

US flights back to normal after software glitch

U.S. aviation officials said most flights around the country were back to normal Wednesday, after a software malfunction delayed hundreds of flights on Tuesday.
The flight delays drew new criticism for the Federal Aviation Administration, which has been scrutinized over air traffic controller staffing levels and inspection standards for its ground-based equipment.
The Northeast was hardest hit by the delays prompted by a glitch at a Hampton, Georgia, facility that processes flight plans for the eastern half of the U.S.
The FAA said the source of the computer software malfunction was a "packet switch" that "failed due to a database mismatch."
Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, said the episode "once again highlights the need to reform and repair a broken system." His Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, said "airline passengers are sick and tired of delays and cancellations." And the nonprofit Travel Industry Association called it "one more example of America's deteriorating air travel system."
The FAA, for its part, said it would work to make sure the problem does not happen again.
An FAA spokeswoman, Kathleen Bergen in Atlanta, said there were no safety issues and officials were still able to speak to pilots on planes on the ground and in the air.
According to the FAA, 646 flights were delayed as a direct result of the problem. In a 24-hour period the FAA processes more than 300,000 flight plans in the U.S., the agency said.
Bergen said the problem that occurred Tuesday afternoon involved a failure in a communication link that transmits flight plan data from the Georgia facility to a similar facility in Salt Lake City.
As a result, the Salt Lake City facility was having to process those flight plans, causing delays in planes taking off. She said the delays were primarily affecting departing flights. FAA spokeswoman Diane Spitaliere said there were some problems with arriving flights as well.
The Hampton facility began processing flight plans again as of 1:15 a.m. (0515 GMT) Wednesday, Bergen said.
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AP Business Writer Samantha Bomkamp in New York contributed to this report.