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.
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.
Comments & Discussion
WTTC Launches Global Safety Stamp to Propel Post-COVID-19 Recovery
The new mark will recognize governments and businesses which have adopted WTTC’s health and hygiene protocols, known as “Safe Travels,” which are backed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Hotels, restaurants, airlines, airports, cruise lines, tour operators, outdoor shops and transportation providers will be able to showcase the stamp once WTTC protocols have been implemented.
Saudi Arabia; Barcelona and Seville, Spain; Portugal and Cancun, Mexico are among the first destinations to adopt the stamp, which recognizes the establishment of protocols based on guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We have learned from past crises that global standard protocols and consistency provide confidence for the traveler. Our new global safety stamp is designed to help rebuild consumer confidence worldwide,” said Gloria Guevara, WTTC President and CEO, in a statement. “We are excited that Saudi Arabia, which is Chair of the G20 tourism group, as well as popular destinations such as Cancun, one of the biggest destinations in the world, Portugal, one of the fastest-growing countries in Europe and the holiday cities of Barcelona and Seville, amongst others, are among the first destinations to back the stamp and implement global standard protocols to recover faster.”
“Now travelers will be able to recognize the businesses and destinations worldwide which have adopted the new set of global protocols that will encourage the return of ‘Safe Travels’ around the world,” she added. “It will, in turn, help the Travel & Tourism sector to reopen for business and move in a coordinated approach.”
“Implementation by governments around the world will restore much-needed confidence in order to restart the Travel & Tourism industry.”
Thailand recently launched the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Certification Program to identify restaurants, hotels, travel agents and other businesses that meet approved COVID-19 hygiene and quality controls.
Comments & Discussion
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