Flight cancellations, delays as a result of deep cleansing on the FAA Jacksonville Management Middle
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The day after someone tested positive for COVID-19 at the Jacksonville Air Traffic Control Center in Hilliard, News4Jax learned that the center was closed for cleaning on Monday evening.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the closure was from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Aircraft were guided around the airspace or handled by facilities below.
As of Tuesday morning, the airport confirmed that it is working properly again. From 8:00 a.m. there were no cancellations or delays.
A tweet from Jacksonville International Airport warned passengers that the closure “could result in significant delays and / or cancellations. Travelers should check with their airline. “
News4Jax’s aviation expert Ed Booth described the closure as “completely unprecedented”.
“It’s been open for 80 years,” said Booth. “And as far as I can tell and have been flying around here for 43 years, it hasn’t closed in those 80 years. So this is a historic event. “
An FAA spokesman said the Hilliard facility covers flights from the panhandle to Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa. It also includes flights to Southeast Georgia and South Carolina.
At around 5 p.m. at JAX, Callie Frances and Henry White attempted to fly back to Nashville, Tennessee. They checked their flight information online before arriving and everything looked fine but things changed when they got to the airport.
“The lady at the counter said we need to be rebooked,” said White. “We are rebooked for tomorrow. We are here for the night. “
“Very frustrating,” said Frances. “I have work tomorrow and that changes some of our plans.”
Louise Avery tried to return to Kansas City.
“They told us we’d be stranded here by morning,” said Avery.
According to George Winterling, retired chief meteorologist for the News4Jax Weather Authority, the air traffic control center first opened in December 1941 at Imeson Field – also known as Jacksonville Imeson Airport. In February 1961, the air traffic control center moved to Hilliard. Winterling worked with the US Weather Bureau at the Imeson Terminal for five years before joining WJXT in 1962.
Aside from Sunday, the FAA said it had heard of staff working at the facility and on July 22, 25, 26, 8, July 9, 21, 22, 19, 28 and December 17th tested positive.
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