Tower workers at Chicago Midway airport test positive for COVID-19; ground stop ordered

Mar 17, 2020

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Officials have ordered a ground stop at Chicago Midway Airport (MDW) Tuesday evening. No flights are going out of, or into, the airport. The one currently inbound flight is proceeding to MDW but may divert to another airport. The reason is that three workers at the air traffic control tower have tested positive for COVID-19, which resulted in the closure of the tower, according to media reports. The Federal Aviation Administration said that the tower is being cleaned.

Flight-tracking site FlightAware reported that all flights inbound to MDW are being held at their origin airports until 6:15 p.m. Chicago time, i.e. a ground stop.

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The Federal Aviation Administration issued the following statement, as reported by the CBS Chicago affiliate:

Contingency plans are in place to ensure the continuity of maintenance and around-the-clock air traffic control services at Midway and other air traffic facilities across the nation. In extreme circumstances, service levels could vary, but safety will not be compromised.

Aviation journalist Ethan Klapper tweeted that sources familiar with the situation said “there will not be a quick resolution.”

Midway International Airport has not yet provided a statement on the situation.

Flight-tracking site Flightradar24 showed that flights bound for Midway currently are turning back or appearing to divert:

We will update this post as more information becomes available.

For more on the coronavirus outbreak, see:

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