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FAA reopens Midway air traffic control tower closed in COVID-19 response
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FAA reopens Midway air traffic control tower closed in COVID-19 response

Virus Outbreak Illinois

The sun sets behind the control tower at Chicago's Midway International Airport. 

CHICAGO — The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday reopened the air traffic control tower at Chicago’s Midway International Airport, which it closed last week after three workers tested positive for COVID-19.

The FAA closed the control tower on March 17 for cleaning, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights into and out of Chicago’s second-largest airport. Reduced operations were directed from an alternate FAA control facility located outside the city.

Most of the flights into and out of Midway are operated by Dallas-based Southwest Airlines. Despite the reopening of Midway’s control tower, an airline spokesman said only 80 of the airline’s 220 flights scheduled for departure Tuesday are operating. Some of the cancellations were prompted by the tower’s closing, while others were due to the decline in travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Southwest has announced plans to cancel about 1,000 of its 4,000 daily U.S. flights through March 27, with the number of cancellations increasing through mid-April.

In announcing the airport’s reopening Tuesday, the FAA did not address whether other workers at Midway had been tested or have been asked to self-quarantine.

Gallery: COVID-19 infects NWI, Region reacts

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