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United Airlines issued nationwide ground stop due to 'systemwide technology issue'

The airline held all its aircraft in the U.S. and Canada at their departure gates Tuesday but lifted the ground stop shortly after it made the announcement.
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United Airlines briefly grounded its fleet nationwide, the airline and the Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, the airline blamed the ground stop, which lasted about an hour, on a software update.

"Earlier today a software update caused a widespread slowdown in United’s technology systems," the statement said. "We briefly held aircraft at their destination airports and resumed normal operations around 12:45 p.m. CT."

No airplanes in flight were affected, the airline said, adding that cybersecurity was not a factor.

The FAA confirmed the airline had asked for the ground stop.

United Airlines said earlier Tuesday it was holding aircraft because of a "systemwide technology issue."

The FAA said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter, at about 1:50 p.m. ET that the airline lifted the ground stop for flights in the U.S. and Canada.

About the same time, the airline said the ground stop had been lifted.

In a subsequent statement, it said: "We have identified a fix for the technology issue and flights have resumed. We’re working with impacted customers to help them reach their destinations as soon as possible."

It’s not the first time this year technological problems grounded commercial airlines in the U.S.

In January, departures for all U.S. flights were halted for several hours after the FAA experienced a computer outage.

The FAA said at the time the delays, which affected thousands of flights, appeared to have been caused by an issue in the Notice to Air Missions system, or NOTAM, which provides pilots with pertinent information they need to fly.

And in June, the FAA ordered a ground stop at Washington, D.C.-area airports because of problems with a communication system at a facility that controls air traffic in Virginia. Less than an hour after departures were stopped, flights to the area airports resumed, the FAA said.