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Flights delayed at Dallas airport after controller tests positive for Covid

It was the second FAA facility that had to undergo cleaning Monday after a controller or other employee tested positive.
Image: An American Airlines plane sits at the gate at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
An American Airlines plane sits at the gate at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on Oct. 17, 2017.Daniel Slim / AFP - Getty Images file

Airspace around the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, one of the nation's busiest, was closed Monday after a controller tested positive for Covid-19.

The airport's Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility was cleaned after a controller tested positive, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The center handles inbound and outbound air traffic at the airport and others, and controllers there were working out of DFW's center tower, the agency said.

The FAA's website had listed a ground stop around 6:30 p.m., and it was lifted about an hour and a half later, the airport said.

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Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport warned that flights would be impacted. An FAA website had shown gate hold and taxi delays of around an hour.

It's the second time in a week that Dallas-area airports were affected by cleaning at an FAA facility following Covid-19 cases. The earlier case involved the Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center.

Earlier Monday, flights were delayed at some Florida airports after an FAA facility near Jacksonville needed to be cleaned after an employee tested positive for Covid, an agency spokesperson said.

The FAA's Jacksonville Center was back in operation at 6 p.m., but it "implemented traffic management programs" starting at 4:20 p.m.

Airports in Tampa, Palm Beach and Jacksonville all tweeted warnings of delays or cancellations due to the temporary closure of the air traffic control center.

The number of people flying in the U.S. increased over the holidays, although it remained far below normal years.

More than 1.32 million people were screened Sunday, according to Transportation Security Administration checkpoint numbers. That number is the highest in a day since March.

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Health officials have warned of a possible surge in coronavirus cases after holiday travel and gatherings, and several states have reported cases of a Covid-19 variant that is believed to be more transmissible and was first detected in the United Kingdom.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced a new national lockdown in England, citing the new variant. The measures are similar to the lockdown imposed last March, and include asking the public to stay at home and leave for only limited reasons.