FAA grapples with COVID cleanups in air traffic centers

Flights were briefly delayed when an air traffic control center near Jacksonville had to close for several hours for extensive cleaning after an employee tested positive for COVID-19

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Flights were delayed when an air traffic control center near Jacksonville, Florida, had to close down for several hours for extensive cleaning after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The FAA data show hundreds of coronavirus infections among air traffic control workers since the pandemic began, a challenge the agency says it has met by scheduling most cleanings for overnight hours and with other ways of reducing the impact on air travel.

The FAA said in a statement that the agency has a “robust contingency plan" for every air traffic control center, including backup plans in case of a temporary closing due to COVID or any other reason.