- After two workers tested positive for COVID-19 this week, the Federal Aviation Administration (Federal Aviation Administration) parked the aircraft on the ground for flights in and out of Dallas, while clearing facilities.
- For the time being, flights are also prohibited from landing or taking off from any airport in the airspace, which spans northern Texas and extends from parts of New Mexico to parts of Louisiana and Arkansas.
- According to reports, the 22 people working at the facility have COVID-19, the highest among FAA facilities in Dallas.
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Since the air traffic control center responsible for the high-altitude airspace in the region is testing one of the personnel positive for COVID-1
The Federal Aviation Administration website shows that this is the second time this week that facility personnel have tested positive for the virus. The most recent incident occurred on Monday. Six FAA facilities in the Dallas area have reported positive COVID-19 cases, four of which have reported multiple cases, but the facility has experienced as many as 22 cases, including Wednesday’s case.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a ground stop for all aircraft that landed in the airspace of the facility during the cleaning period, and the stop was far beyond downtown Dallas. Its airspace encompasses most of the sky over northern Texas, southern Oklahoma, western Arkansas, western Louisiana, and eastern New Mexico.
The Dallas arrival flight that has not departed is staying at its departure airport, and the flight to the area may need to enter a waiting state or transfer to another airport outside the airspace until the ground station is raised.
The Dallas Air Traffic Control Center usually coordinates high-altitude flights, which fly between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas’ Love Field. These airports are home to American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, and they have hundreds of flights from the city every day.
Aircraft scheduled to cross the vast airspace of Dallas may also need to diverge around it, which may increase the flight time of other aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed to Business Insider that the facility is still open, but due to cleaning work, it may reduce labor.
The first high-profile COVID-19 incident that affected sensitive air traffic control facilities occurred in March when the air traffic control tower at Chicago’s Midway International Airport was forced to close, and flights in and out of the airport were grounded. In Las Vegas, the long-term closure of air traffic control facilities at McCarran International Airport means that aircraft must communicate directly with each other to coordinate their activities.
Air traffic controllers at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York retreated to a second location, and their control tower was closed in March for cleaning. However, not all airports have backup facilities for air traffic control operations.
The route control center is usually closed overnight for cleaning to reduce the impact on flights during the day, but the frequent cases this week may prompt the cleaning in the afternoon. In what proved to be the busiest travel time of the pandemic, planes stopped at the station. Around the Christmas and New Year holidays, more than one million passengers pass through US airports every day.