LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Flights from around the globe diverted away from McCarran International Airport Wednesday night due to an air traffic controller potentially testing positive for COVID-19. The air traffic control tower is now temporarily closed and the Las Vegas Terminal Radar Approach Control has assumed control of the airspace.
The FAA originally reported the air traffic controller tested positive, but then later amended the statement, saying the person “potentially tested positive.”
Below is the full amended statement from the FAA:
The air traffic control tower at McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas is temporarily closing while we ensure a safe work environment for air traffic controllers and technicians.
On Wednesday, an air traffic controller at the facility potentially tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The Las Vegas Terminal Radar Approach Control has assumed control of the airspace. The airport remains open and operations will continue at a reduced rate until the situation is resolved.
The air traffic system is a resilient system with multiple backups in place. This shift in operational control is a regular execution of a longstanding contingency plan to ensure continued operations. Each facility across the country has a similar plan that has been updated and tested in recent years.
The safety of our staff and the traveling public is the FAA’s top priority. Our controllers, inspectors and others with critical safety or security sensitive roles are essential components of our national airspace.
The FAA continues to maintain close contact with airports, airlines and other stakeholders during this situation.FAA