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Flights reportedly affected during COVID-cleaning closure of Columbus tower

A spokesperson for the John Glenn Columbus International Airport said COVID-related cleaning at the tower does not happen often.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Flights at John Glenn Columbus International Airport were affected on Thursday due to COVID-related cleaning at the air traffic control tower, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson.

The FAA spokesperson said the tower reopened at 5:25 p.m. after it was closed for less than an hour.

During that time, the tower in Indianapolis controlled the airspace.

In addition to situations related to COVID-19, the FAA monitors staffing and traffic at the towers to make sure all planes can land safely.

10TV heard from multiple people whose flights were affected and were told by airport or airline staffers on their flights they were not able to land in Columbus 

A spokesperson for the John Glenn Columbus International Airport said COVID-related cleaning at the tower does not happen often.

To check the status of flights in Columbus, click here.

To check the status of FAA facilities affected by COVID-19, click here.

An advisory on the FAA website listed a delay for arriving flights from 6:30 p.m. to 9:59 p.m. It was not immediately clear if the delays were related to the tower closure.

The site classified the delays as being related to a ground delay program, which is described on the FAA website as being "implemented to control air traffic volume to airports where the projected traffic demand is expected to exceed the airport's acceptance rate for a lengthy period of time."

The average delay for flights that were scheduled to arrive between 6:30 p.m. and 6:59 p.m. was 84 minutes according to an FAA chart.

That average delay time decreased to 63 minutes in the 7 p.m. hour and 31 minutes in the  8 p.m. hour.  As of 9:05 p.m., the average delay was nine minutes in the 9 p.m. hour.

10TV reached back out to the FAA and the Columbus Regional Airport Authority for more information about the delays and has yet to hear back.

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