Update, 8:45 a.m. Thursday: The Federal Aviation Administration is offering few details of the “technical issues” the agency says prompted a halt to departures from Southern California airports for about 90 minutes Wednesday afternoon.
In a statement on its — ahem — Facebook page posted after departures resumed at Los Angeles International Airport and other terminals, the FAA offered this:
The FAA’s Los Angeles Center air traffic control facility experienced technical issues and stopped accepting additional flights into the airspace managed by the facility for about an hour earlier today. Some flights were diverted and the agency issued a nationwide groundstop for flights heading into the airspace managed by the center. The agency is gradually restoring the system.
News outlets said the technical issues involved a computer failure at the FAA’s Los Angeles air traffic control center.
Update, 3:25 p.m. Wednesday: Aviation officials have reportedly lifted the ban on departures from Southern California airports, including Los Angeles International. But passengers can expect to deal with continuing delays after an FAA-ordered departure shutdown that lasted more than an hour.
News helicopter images showed a long line of jets queuing to take off from LAX after the “ground halt” was lifted shortly after 3:15 p.m. The FAA imposed the departure ban shortly after 2 p.m.
Earlier post: Federal aviation officials have halted flights out of Los Angeles International Airport and other Southern California air terminals because of an unspecified problem with air traffic computers.
The FAA is reporting rapidly growing delays at several airports in the Southwest, apparently connected to the problems in Los Angeles. Airports in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City are among those affected.
Los Angeles International Airport, John Wayne Airport in Orange County and Bob Hope Airport in Burbank said their facilities were affected by the order, which means flights can land but not depart.
Airport officials did not have an immediate estimate for when the ground stop would be lifted. The order did not prevent arriving flights from landing, said LAX spokeswoman Amanda Parson.
She did not know how many flights were affected by the FAA’s request, which was made around 2 p.m. Incoming flights were reportedly being diverted to other airports not affected by the glitch, disrupting travel plans.
An FAA representative could not immediately be reached for comment.
Airport officials urged passengers to check with their individual airlines for flight information.
The Associated Press reports:
Airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said Wednesday afternoon that the Federal Aviation Administration had put a “ground stop” on departures. Arrivals were still being accepted.
Castles wasn’t sure what caused the problem. An FAA spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Los Angeles International is the nation’s third-busiest airport.