A busy air traffic center in Texas was closed on Wednesday afternoon after staff at the facility tested positive for COVID-19.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed to the Southside Light News on Wednesday afternoon that the Fort Worth Center, which handles en route air traffic for ten commercial airports in Texas, 2 each in Louisiana and Oklahoma and 1 in Arkansas, was has been offline for the deep cleaning between the hours of 3:00pm and 5:30pm (CST) on Wednesday as millions of travelers are out and about taking to the skies. A full-ground stop is in effect.
The FAA Headquarters has not released a statement but did provide access to an interactive map that showed the center has had positive COVID-19 test results on December 23, 28, and 30th, 2020. Spokesperson Arlene Salac, with the FAA did not disclose the number of persons who had tested positive from the center itself or what issues are being caused by the center being offline.
At 4:15pm (local CST) at least 37 inbound flights had been diverted from Dallas/Fort Worth International and another 7 inbound flights had been diverted from Love Field, the primary airport for Southwest Airlines. According to FlightRadar 24 nearly all departing flights from D/FW airport have been delayed or canceled through at least 5:40pm local time. A number of commercial flights are being delayed at Love Field over that same time period.
Impacts at Corpus Christi International Airport appear to be minimal at this time with only one Dallas bound flight appearing to be canceled for Wednesday evening.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for further updates.