Evacuation at FAA air traffic control center causes delays, cancellations at DC area airports

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Planes being halted Monday evening at Reagan National Airport. (Photo: Lindsay Watts / @LindsayAWatts / Twitter)

Air traffic at Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Thurgood Marshall Airport, Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport were impacted Monday evening due to an evacuation at a Federal Aviation Administration facility in Virginia.

Airport officials said the FAA air traffic control center in Leesburg experienced an issue from construction work at the facility.

"Local fire officials directed the FAA to evacuate the Washington Center in Leesburg, VA  at about 6:40 pm after fumes from construction work permeated the control room," the FAA said in a statement. "The center handles high altitude flights over the area. The facility stopped accepting new flights and handed off airborne flights to other air traffic control facilities for safe handling. We are actively working to fully ventilate the facility. We will update the statement when we get new information."

Several hours later, the FAA said air traffic controllers returned to the Washington Center and resumed operations at around 9:30 p.m.

"Flights that were delayed are beginning to take off, and we expect to resume normal operations in the morning," the FAA said.

The evacuation caused a ground stop and a temporary air traffic management program to take place at BWI Airport.

All three airports experienced delays and cancellations. Passengers were being advised to check with their airline about the status of their flight.


For information about air traffic delays, go to fly.faa.gov