NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The Federal Aviation Administration says an "automation problem" that snarled air traffic throughout a large swatch of the Northeast stretching from New York down to the Carolinas has been resolved.
The agency said that a computer system at an air traffic center in Leesburg, Va., that controllers use to direct high-altitude flights was back in service, and that officials were expected to have lifted any remaining order to hold planes on the ground by about 4 p.m. EDT.
The effects of the air traffic control computer glitch was felt by passengers like Ron Furia from New Jersey, WCBS 880's Jim Smith reported.
"It was originally a 5 o'clock flight and now it's 8:45," Furia said.
Furia said all he can do is grin and bear it.
"These things happen and when you travel you know it can happen," Furia said. "You don't like it, but there's not much you can do about it."
The system went back online around 4 p.m. but left passengers with still plenty of time to kill.
"I have a book with me, a crossword puzzl," Furia said. "Whatever it takes."
FAA: Problem That Caused Flight Delays At New York City, DC Airports Has Been Resolved
Others weren't too patient.
"I'm staying in an airport that I don't know, in a place that I don't know," one man told CBS2's Kris Van Cleave. "I'm going to be there all night until the next flight in the morning. I'm not happy. I'm very upset."
FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the agency is investigating what cause the automation problem at an air traffic center. The center handles high-altitude air traffic for a region that includes Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Washington's Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport.
Flights into and out of New York- and Washington-area airports were being grounded with delays stretching to 2 hours, 45 minutes in some cases. The Port Authority said flights at LaGuardia Airport may be affected.
The FAA said it is directing high-altitude flights around the affected airspace. The problem is not believed to be caused by any accident or hacking.
American Airlines said in a tweet that air traffic control issues are impacting all East Coast flights. The airline is urging passengers to plan accordingly. Laura Nedbal, an American spokeswoman, said its flights from Cleveland to the Washington area were also affected.
Information posted online by the FAA indicated that the problem concerned the En Route Automation Modernization computer system, also known as ERAM.
The FAA finished installing the troubled computer system in the last of 20 high-altitude traffic control centers earlier this year. The completion was years behind schedule.
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