But the Federal Aviation Administration said a small fire at the agency’s Technical Center in New Jersey did not affect systems used to control air traffic.
Flights in and out of Newark, LaGuardia and Kennedy International airports were affected, Eric Torbenson with Delta said Friday evening. “We have drawn down most of our New York operations because of those factors,” Torbenson said.
The FAA had implemented “ground stops” and “ground delays” on the East Coast and in San Francisco earlier Friday because of bad weather, the agency said. Then, the fire occurred.
“The fire did not compromise any systems used to directly control air traffic,” the FAA said in an emailed statement. “Some systems used to manage the flow of traffic across the country were temporarily unavailable, but the FAA has transferred those functions to a backup system and operated traffic flow manually while the transfer was under way.”
Some FAA Internet services were affected by the fire, including an online link to airport status reports.
Other airlines were also affected.
Rob Maruster, JetBlue’s chief operating officer, tweeted Friday, “Data center outage at (hash)FAA in ACY affecting thousands of flights on east coast. It will not be a pretty evening, unfortunately.”
As of 7:30 p.m. EDT Friday, JetBlue had 66 flights that had either been delayed or canceled, but that number was expected to grow throughout the evening and into Saturday, said airline spokeswoman Jenny Dervin.
“That’s not a final number by any means,” she said.
Dervin attributed about half the JetBlue delays and cancellation to intense thunderstorms in the East and the other half to the FAA Technical Center fire.
It was not known whether any weekend Delta flights would be affected, Torbenson said. Scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast Friday evening for New York, according to The Weather Channel.
Delta customers planning to travel to New York were advised to check their flight status at www.delta.com.