This information is preliminary and subject to change.
A set of unique circumstances, including a positive COVID-19 test and convective weather, combined to create air traffic delays in and around Dallas-Fort Worth late this afternoon. Due to a thorough and expedited cleaning, the FAA quickly resumed operations, with the Fort Worth Air Traffic Control Center in Fort Worth, Texas, back online in less than two hours.
Earlier today, an air traffic control employee at Fort Worth Air Traffic Control Center in Fort Worth, Texas, tested positive for COVID-19. The employee had last been in the facility on Christmas Day. If an affected employee has been in the facility seven days or less before testing positive for COVID-19, FAA protocols will call for a Level 3 cleaning of all areas where the employee may have been. A Level 3 cleaning began at 3:45 p.m. this afternoon.
Because the cleaning required controllers to temporarily leave the control room, the FAA declared a ground stop, which held traffic at departing facilities. Other FAA facilities supported the closure and worked traffic around the effected airspace. Cleaning was completed at 5:05 p.m. local time, which is when controllers reoccupied the control room, began working traffic, and the ground stop was lifted.
It’s important to note that current air traffic movement is also being affected by thunderstorms moving through the area. Thunderstorms, wind and heavy rain can cause delays. You can check the real-time traffic information at www.fly.faa.gov.
The FAA takes the safety of its employees and the flying public very seriously. Please note that throughout this event, pilots were always in touch with air traffic control employees, either at Fort Worth Air Traffic Control Center, or other air traffic control facilities.
Fort Worth Air Traffic Control Center employs approximately 380 air traffic controllers, and handles high-level air traffic in multiple states.
The affected airports included Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field. Those air traffic towers were never closed. You can find out more about the impacts at each airport by contacting the airport authority directly.
For more information about COVID-19 impacts at FAA facilities, visit https://www.faa.gov/coronavirus/map/.
DFW is back online. See the affected areas here: