FAA to briefly close New York traffic center, LaGuardia control tower

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Aviation Administration said late on Saturday it will close the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center and New York LaGuardia Control Tower overnight for cleaning after another person tested positive for COVID-19.

An American airline plane is seen at the tarmac after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) temporarily halted flights arriving at New York City airports due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York, U.S., March 21, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

The FAA said an individual at La Guardia tested positive, prompting the temporary shutdown of the tower that it said should have minimal impact on flights.

The FAA said New York Air Route Traffic Control Center will close at 11:30 p.m. EDT until 6:30 a.m. for sanitization, while LaGuardia Control Tower will be closed from 11 p.m. EDT until 6 a.m. for sanitization.

The FAA said transatlantic services will be discontinued during the closure at New York Air Route Center and some flights may be held to avoid arriving during the cleaning.

Earlier on Saturday, the FAA temporarily halted flights arriving at New York City airports and Philadelphia after a trainee at the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center tested positive for COVID-19.

The FAA soon lifted the New York area ground stop order Saturday but some flights were delayed while flight management returned to normal. The positive test forced the FAA to close some air space sectors and reroute flights, the agency said.

Flightaware, a flight tracking website, said 600 flights had been canceled on Saturday at John F. Kennedy and Newark airports.

The FAA has had a series of issues this week due to cases of coronavirus at 10 U.S. facilities, forcing the cancellation of more than 2,000 flights and the closing of towers earlier this week at Chicago Midway and Las Vegas.

More than 1,500 flights have been canceled at Las Vegas, where the tower is still closed, including more than 500 on Saturday. Another 300 flights were canceled at Midway on Saturday, where the tower also remains closed.

The FAA on Friday temporarily closed the tower at New York’s JFK, which led to some flight cancellations, and also shuttered part of the Indianapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center for cleaning after workers tested positive for the coronavirus.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Tom Brown, Sonya Hepinstall and Chris Reese

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source: reuters.com