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WASHINGTON: The contractors who damaged computer files leading to the massive Jan. 11 disruptions to the US flight system did so “unintentionally,” aviation regulators said Thursday.
The latest preliminary findings by the Federal Aviation Administration indicate that “contract personnel,” who weren’t identified, were attempting to correct discrepancies between a live database and its backup when they accidentally deleted files, the agency said in an emailed statement.
The FAA last week ordered a rare halt to all US flight departures as a result of a computer failure that made it impossible to provide safety notices to pilots. The shutdown lasted less than two hours, but caused thousands of airline delays and cancellations.
The FAA said in the following days that people working on computer data had violated agency policy. The agency initially was unsure whether the actions were intentional or inadvertent, a person familiar with the investigation who wasn’t permitted to speak about it said last week.

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