The Perfect Enemy | Flights diverted following John Glenn COVID-related air tower closure
July 6, 2022

Flights diverted following John Glenn COVID-related air tower closure

Flights diverted following John Glenn COVID-related air tower closure  The Columbus DispatchView Full Coverage on Google News

Read Time:1 Minute

John Glenn Columbus International Airport was experiencing ongoing inbound delays Thursday night stemming from an approximately one-hour afternoon closure of the air traffic control tower while it was cleaned because some controllers had COVID-19, according to an Federal Aviation Administration advisory.

According to the FAA advisory, the average possible inbound delay was 21 minutes and the maximum delay was 90 minutes. The advisory anticipated delays would decrease, but continue until 10 p.m. 

Inbound flights to the airport were also diverted elsewhere Thursday afternoon after the air traffic control tower was closed for COVID-related cleaning, according to an FAA spokesperson.

The air traffic control tower at John Glenn Columbus closed after a COVID-19 contamination among flight control operators, said Sarah McQuaide, spokesperson for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which operates the airport.

The FAA, which oversees air traffic at John Glenn and other airports nationwide, has policies that require a tower to be closed and cleaned after a suspected contamination, she said.

Columbus airport authority outlines plans for new John Glenn terminal

While the control tower at Columbus was closed, flight communications were diverted to the FAA tower at Indianapolis International Airport, McQuaide said. This reduced the number of planes that could be landed at John Glenn, so some approaching flights needed to be diverted to other airports to refuel while some flights departing other airports for Columbus were held on ground delay at those airports.

McQuaide told The Dispatch the cleaning closed the FAA tower at John Glenn Columbus for about an hour.  She said she did not know how many incoming flights were affected.

Columbus airport plans to relocate taxiway to make way for new terminal

The tower was cleaned in “about an hour” and went back into operation, she said. 

Earlier this week, dozens of flights were delayed at Kansas City International Airport after the air traffic control tower was closed for COVID-related cleaning, according to The Kansas City Star.

Cole Behrens is a reporter at The Columbus Dispatch covering public safety and breaking news. You can reach him at CBehrens@dispatch.com or find him on Twitter at @Colebehr_report