coronavirus in illinois

Nearly 400 Flights Canceled at Midway as Air Traffic Control Tower Remains Closed

The tower was closed after three technicians tested positive for coronavirus

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The air traffic control tower at Chicago’s Midway International Airport remains closed after three Federal Aviation Administration technicians tested positive for the coronavirus.

Nearly 400 flights were canceled at the airport Wednesday as cleaning efforts continue in the affected tower, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation's website.

The positive tests, which were reported Tuesday, caused the FAA to close down the control tower. The administration then ordered a ground stop for all flights arriving at the airport.

On Wednesday, the FAA took another step and issued a Temporary Flight Restriction at the airport. The restriction allows only commercial flights and other authorized aircraft to land and depart.

The TFR will remain in effect until March 26, but can be canceled or altered at any time, according to the FAA.

Air traffic services have been moved to the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control facility, according to an email from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. The move means that flights can arrive and depart at the airport at a reduced rate while the air traffic control tower at Midway remains closed.

The union said that it had requested the FAA initiate a thorough cleaning of the tower after the positive tests. Cleaning protocols will also be reviewed at the airport as a result of the tests.

The air traffic technicians tested positive for the virus this week, according to the FAA. The administration is pushing forward with efforts to offer coronavirus tests to all employees in the air traffic control tower at the airport.

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