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FAA Temporarily Halted All Flights To New York, Philadelphia Airports

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Update: March 21, 2020, 3:30 p.m. ET

After a brief interlude, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has lifted its stop order for flights headed into all New York-area airports, while the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZNY) closed down due to “staffing issues”. Philidelphia International Airport was also affected by the air-traffic disruption.

ZNY was closed down for roughly an hour, although air traffic controllers and inbound planes were initially told that the interruption could last several hours, and that flights could be diverted or even sent back to their origination point.

In a statement shared with coronavirus-faa-temporary-ground-stop-jfk-laguardia-newark-philadelphia/2891750001/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>USA Today, FAA spokesperson Arlene Salac said, “A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic controller trainee at New York Air Route Traffic Control Center in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., tested positive for COVID-19 today.”

Reportedly, the trainee who tested positive has not been present on the premises since March 17, but ZNY temporarily closed down for roughly an hour this afternoon while the FAA decided on next steps.

The FAA has informed local health authorities of the confirmed COVID-19 case, and is working cooperatively to develop a plan for sanitizing any affected areas and to track down any personnel who might have interacted with the infected employee.


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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has just halted all flights New York-area airports, citing “staffing issues” at the New York air route traffic control center.

According to NBC News, the FAA wrote in an advisory, posted around 1:45 p.m. ET.: “Due to staffing issues at ZNY, please stop all departures to airports within ZNY. This includes KJFK, KEWR, KLGA, KTEB, KHPN, KPHL, KMMU, KCDW, KMDT, KABE, KISP, KFRG and several smaller airports.”

An email from the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)—sent to a TravelPulse reporter who is presently aboard a flight from Antigua to New York—stated, “All New York majors…are nationwide ground stopped.” It clarified, “There are no [air traffic control] services available at this time from NY Center until further advised.”

“Airborne traffic will be diverted or sent back to origination if they have not yet entered ZNY airspace yet. Taxiing aircraft will be sent back to ramp and indefinitely held,” the update revealed.

NBC News speculated that the operational shutdown could be related to a coronavirus-outbreak” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>COVID-19 case, although it didn’t provide a basis for such an assumption.

A full briefing from the FAA regarding the extent of the New York-area air traffic issue is expected to be issued soon.

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WTTC Unveils Safe Travels Protocols for Airlines, Tour Operators and More

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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a new round of safety measures aimed at airlines, airports, tour operators and meeting and event organizers in an effort to propel the post-COVID-19 recovery.

WTTC previously released its Safe Travels protocols for the hospitality sector as well as outdoor retail businesses.

Developed following close consultation with WTTC members such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Emirates Group and Etihad, among others, guidance for the aviation industry includes enhanced cleaning procedures, personal protective equipment (PPE) and retraining for staff, signage to limit interaction and queuing at touchpoints and the implementation of more contactless processes.

WTTC is also recommending that airlines limit movement within the cabin as much as possible by boarding passengers from the back of the plane to the front and from the window seats out to the aisle seats.

“COVID-19 is a gamechanger for the travel and tourism sector, requiring us to enhance our approach to health and safety to protect our travelers and workforce,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO at IATA, in a statement. “Aviation is the business of freedom and it is vital to enable its restart on a safe basis. IATA is delighted to lend its framework and collaborate with WTTC on the Aviation Protocols as part of its Safe Travels initiative. This is an excellent example of the industry solidarity and cooperation that will be so vital to ensuring a strong recovery for travel and tourism.”

Meanwhile, tour operators are being asked to enhance disinfection and deep cleaning practices for coaches and other vehicles as well as to roll out pre-allocated seating plans with no rotation and explore staggered timing for access to venues, hotels and restaurants, among other measures.

Convention centers and meetings and event organizers are encouraged to implement physical distancing, reduce venue capacity limits, consider pre-arrival risk assessment questionnaires for participants and create isolation units outside the venue where possible for anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms.

“For the first time ever, the global private sector has rallied around our Safe Travels protocols which will create the consistency needed to allow a re-invigorated Travel & Tourism sector re-open for business,” stated WTTC President & CEO, Gloria Guevara. “Among the most important of these measures are those which will enable the aviation sector to take-off. Aviation’s return is critical to help repower the global economic recovery.”

“WTTC aviation protocols were created in close collaboration with ACI and IATA. We thank them and their leaders Angela Gittens and Alexandre de Juniac for their guidance, as it is vital we restore consumer confidence to get people traveling and flying safely,” she added. “The expertise from large and small tour operators contributed to define the new experience via tour operators and visiting event venues again, and were defined in the coordination of experts from this segment, through these robust global measures which have been embraced by businesses around the world.”

Visit WTTC.org to view a complete breakdown of the latest Safe Travels global protocols.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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