Hundreds of Flights Canceled at Midway After Air Traffic Control Tower Workers Test Positive for Covid-19 (Video)
More than 240 flights had been canceled.
More than 240 flights were canceled at Chicago’s Midway Airport after several air traffic control tower technicians tested positive for coronavirus.
At least three three workers tested positive for the virus that has now affected over 200,000 people worldwide, ABC Chicago reported. The tower was shut down on Tuesday.
The airport tweeted it was continuing to operate on a “one-in-one-out” basis since, as ABC noted, there are multiple backups in place.
“The air traffic control tower at Midway Airport is temporarily closing while we ensure a safe work environment for air traffic controllers and technicians,” the FAA said in a statement to CNBC on Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, the airport noted in a separate post it was open but “flight operations remain limited.”
A representative for Southwest Airlines, which accounts for a large portion of the traffic at Midway, told Travel + Leisure the airline “ceased operations” at the airport due to the tower closure.
The disruption resulted in more than 75 Southwest cancellations on Tuesday and Wednesday, the airline's representative told T+L, encouraging passengers to check the airline’s website for their flight status.
As of November last year, more than 19 million passengers passed through Midway International Airport, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation’s most recent statistics.
In Illinois as of Wednesday morning, there had been 161 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracking of the virus, including one death.
Following the discovered cases at Midway, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association told CNBC all aviation safety workers at the airport should be tested.
“We are encouraged that the FAA is pursuing the rapid testing of all personnel at MDW Tower,” the union told the network.
The airline industry has been hit hard as coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S. and around the world with many companies forced to cancel flights and drastically reduce their service capacity.