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COVID-19 Exposure Forces John Wayne Airport To Operate At Reduced Capacity

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – A COVID-19 exposure among air traffic control staff at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana is forcing the airport to operate at a reduced capacity for the next several days.

John Wayne Airport Air Traffic Control
The air traffic control tower at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, Calif. Undated photo. (CBSLA)

Air traffic control staff were exposed to a person with coronavirus, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed to CBSLA Tuesday.

That will force John Wayne to close its control tower early for the next several days and reduce the airport's maximum hourly arrival rate through Sunday.

However, the FAA told CBSLA it does not expect John Wayne to see significant flight delays because there are already fewer flights running due to the pandemic.

"Due to a COVID case and possible COVID exposure among its air traffic control workforce, the control tower at John Wayne…will be operating on a limited basis and closing early through approximately Nov. 29," the FAA wrote in a statement. "Every air traffic control facility in the country has a contingency plan to keep air traffic moving safely when events impede normal operations, and the FAA remains positioned to quickly address the effects of the COVID-19 public health emergency."

The FAA added that Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control (SoCal TRACON), located in San Diego, will assist with arrivals and departures when John Wayne's control tower is closed.

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