Computer problem temporarily grounds thousands of United Airlines planes worldwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) -- More than 3,500 United Airlines flights around the world were grounded or otherwise impacted early Wednesday morning due to an issue with the airline's passengers service system (PSS), causing severe delays for hours, officials said.

The problems began at around 8:30 a.m. ET when the PSS system went down, forcing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States to issue a nationwide ground stop for all United Airlines and sub-carriers. The ground stop for sub-carriers was soon lifted, but the ground stop for mainline flights continued until just before 10 a.m., when the issue was resolved.

The passenger service system includes a number of critical systems used by airlines, including the departure control system. Flights that were already in the air were not directly impacted.

The exact cause of the issue was not known, but it coincided with computer problems at the New York Stock Exchange. "It appears from what we know at this stage that the malfunctions at United and the stock exchange were not the result of any nefarious actor," said U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

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