>> Good evening and welcome to the newshour. The nation's air travel system has had another long and difficult day. By late afternoon, nearly 1300 flights had been canceled and more than 8000 delayed because of a critical system failure at the FAA. >> The failure force the FAA to call a nationwide halt to operations for several hours. Federal officials vowed to get to the bottom of an outage that disrupted travel plans for millions of people. A wave of delays and cancellations rippled from coast-to-coast just as the nation's airports were starting their day. The sun shut down left terminals filled with travelers with nowhere to go. The ground stop order was lifted just before nine :00 A.M.
Eastern time but the disruptions lingered for hours. Pat and Allison were trying to fly out of Newark New Jersey. >> I am really upset but what can I do? >> Makes you kind of nervous is there something else maybe we are not being told right now. >> The problem started late Tuesday when the FAA's notice to air mission system with down.
That antiquated computer system supplies information flight crews must have before being allowed to take off. This morning, transportation secretary Pete buttigieg said initially there was no sign of a cyber attack. >> There has been no direct evidence or indication of that but we are not going to roll that out until we have a better understanding of what is taking place. >> Several hours later he vowed to get to the bottom of what happened. >> My top priority right now another system is working again as of 9:00 this morning is to understand the root cause come understand how it could've led to this level of disruption and how to make sure it does not happen again should >> All of this comes weeks after a massive holiday flight cancellations and delays reach havoc for days.
That trouble was blamed on winter weather and southwest airline's outdated technology and reliance on a point-to-point system rather than using hubs. The air travel system is heading back to a more routine schedule this evening but today's disruptions led to the first nationwide flight stoppage since 9/11. It has raised questions again about the reliability and vulnerability of our system. Our science and aviation's special correspondent joins us to look at those concerns. Thanks for being here. Let's start with this system, the notice to air mission system the FAA says went down late on Tuesday. What does it do and how to create such a mess? >> Notice to air missions are the late changes to the game plan.