Third party contractors booted off FAA systems

The third-party contractors who caused a recent FAA computer breakdown resulting in a US nationwide grounding, and stranding thousands of passengers worldwide, have been kicked off federal aviation systems.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revoked access for all contract personnel directly involved in the January 11 outage - personnel said to be working for the Washington DC area tech services firm Spatial Front.

The FAA announced the news to US lawmakers by email on Wednesday.

Last week, an investigation found Spatial Front personnel directly responsible for "unintentionally" deleting files and knocking the pilot safety alert messaging system, Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM), offline for 90 minutes.

The FAA said the deletion occurred while personnel were working "to correct synchronization between the live primary database and a backup database."

The disruption led to the grounding of all US departing flights nationwide, causing the delay and cancellations of thousand of flights, and stranding passengers at airports across the globe for hours.

"The recent NOTAM system meltdown highlighted a huge vulnerability in our air transportation system and underscores the need to address the leadership vacuum at FAA," said House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves.

It was the first US nationwide grounding since the September 11 terror attacks.

The congressional lawmakers had met Wednesday to pass legislation establishing an FAA task force to address upgrading the agencies outdated systems.

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