COVID-19 case at air traffic control facility prompts flight delays

The Atlanta Terminal Radar Approach Control facility is in Peachtree City. Source: NATCA
The Atlanta Terminal Radar Approach Control facility is in Peachtree City. Source: NATCA

A COVID-19 case reported at an air traffic control facility led to flight delays at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Friday afternoon.

The Federal Aviation Administration said its Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility in Peachtree City was cleaned for an hour after a coronavirus case was reported there.

During the cleaning, TRACON controllers worked from a training room, and the agency delayed flights arriving and departing at the Atlanta airport. That slowed the flow of flights “because it’s less efficient for TRACON controllers to work from the alternate location,” according to a statement from the FAA.

The amount of time it takes to sanitize is much shorter now, so the cleaning wasn’t done overnight.

It’s not the first COVID-19 case at the TRACON facility. The FAA on its website reports that one employee tested positive in July, three in October, two in November, three in December and two so far in January.

At the FAA’s Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center facility in Hampton, a couple dozen employees have tested positive since March.

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