Midway International Airport's air traffic control tower has been temporarily closed after three FAA technicians at the airport tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the air traffic control tower at the airport is “temporarily closing” while crews clean facilities.
A ground stop has been ordered, according to the flight tracking website Flight Aware. That ground stop means that all inbound flights to Midway that have not already departed will be held at their point of origin.
As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, at least 181 flights had been canceled at the airport. 89 of the 293 scheduled arriving flights were canceled as a result of the ground stop.
“The airport remains open and operations will continue at a reduced rate until the situation is resolved,” the FAA said in a statement issued to media. “The air traffic system is a resilient system with multiple backups in place. This shift is a regular execution of a longstanding contingency plan to ensure continued operations.”
Officials announced Tuesday that three technicians in the air traffic control tower at the airport tested positive for the virus.
Air traffic services are being moved from Midway to the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control facility, according to an email from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.
NATCA requested that the FAA order the facility to be disinfected, according to public health standards, after the positive tests. Cleaning protocols at the airport will also be reviewed, according to the email.
The FAA is pushing forward to test all employees in the air traffic control tower at the airport after the positive tests.
The move will mean reduced flight capacity at the airport until cleaning of the on-site tower is complete.