All flights bound for NYC-area and Philadelphia airports were briefly suspended after an air traffic controller tested positive for coronavirus

Mark Lennihan/APJetBlue’s Terminal 6 at JFK Airport.
  • Flights arriving into airports in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were briefly suspended Saturday afternoon.
  • An employee at an air traffic control tower in Long Island, New York tested positive for coronavirus Saturday, according to the FAA. The tower closed briefly while it was disinfected.
  • Flights have since resumed arriving at the affected airports.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

All flights bound for New York-area airports were briefly halted Saturday after an employee at a local airport tested positive for coronavirus.

An air traffic control employee at an air traffic control tower in Long Island tested positive Saturday for COVID-19, the coronavirus disease, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement.

Flights bound for airports across New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were briefly put on hold as federal officials worked to disinfect the control tower.

The employee who tested positive – an air traffic controller trainee at a centre in Ronkonkoma, New York – has not been at the facility since March 17, according to the FAA. The FAA is working with local health officials to sanitize and clean the affected areas.

Affected airports included Newark Liberty International Airport, Laguardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Philadelphia Internation Airport. Flights airborne during that time were diverted or sent back to their original destination.

The affected airports began a “slow process” of reopening after an approximately 30-minute shutdown.

Flights around the US have been delayed and cancelled due to the FAA’s brief shutdowns of traffic control facilites after employees tested positive for coronavirus. The FAA temporarily closed Chicago’s Midway International Airport last week to allow for the airport to disinfect a control tower where an employee had tested positive.

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