MONROE, LA (KTVE/KARD)– Across the nation, airports have closed down due to workers in the Air Traffic Control Tower testing positive for covid-19. These positive tests have caused delayed flights and closures for hours at a time. Here locally at Monroe Regional Airport, there have been two incidents related to covid-19 in the last 6 months where they had to shut down the Air Traffic Control Tower. Officials say nobody really noticed any impact with air travel as Monroe Regional is smaller and has fewer flights.
To put it in perspective, DFW International Airport sees an average of 4,000 commercial and general flights a day, whereas Monroe Regional airport sees an average of 150 flights a day. Officials say when someone tests positive, they have plans that immediately take action, including contact tracing and sanitation.
“What happens when there is a covid incident or any other kind of incident a different facility takes over air travel or air traffic travel moving forward until that incident is resolved,” said Michelli Martin, Communications Director for the City of Monroe.
But even if no one has tested positive in the air traffic control tower at Monroe Regional, those waiting on a flight could see an impact.
“Anytime those larger hubs are impacted they have to shut down. That has that trickle-down effect where it will affect other people,” Michelli Martin, Communications Director for the city of Monroe.
City officials tell me they have actually hired more people at Monroe Regional Airport to help keep the place clean and sanitized. That includes terminals, baggage claim, and of course, the Air Traffic Control Tower.