Hazmat incident triggers flight delays at DC-area airports

Are you flying today? Be sure to check your flight.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - If you’re headed to the airport in the D.C. area Tuesday morning, check with your airline first. BWI urged travelers to "rebook now!"

A temporary ground stop was in place for Dulles, Reagan, and BWI airports because of construction fumes at an FAA air traffic control facility in Leesburg, Va. Monday night. 

Shortly before 9 p.m., fire officials gave an all clear to FAA Washington Center and operations were able to resume. 

The FAA Washington Center  is in charge of all flights at higher altitudes. That has the biggest impact on the airlines.

BWI began operating again shortly after 10 p.m. with flights being delayed 15 minutes or less. Delays at Reagan National Airport are expected to last into Wednesday. 

Reagan National airport released the following statement: 

"Around 6pm on July 10, an FAA control center in the DC region experienced an issue that halted air traffic in the region for a number of hours. At 10pm, the control center started to resume operations. There are many cancelations and delays. We expect residual delays into Tuesday, July 11 as FAA returns to normal operations. Passengers should check with their airline for specific information about their flight."

It affected all air traffic, Dulles reported. Any flights scheduled to take off are stuck on the ground. Many flights in the air trying to land had to circle the airport before getting the all clear to land.

TRACK YOUR FLIGHT: Live airport statuses

According to an FAA statement, fumes from construction work made their way into the control room, which handles high-altitude flights over the D.C. area. Workers had to stop accepting new flights and handed off airborne flights to other air traffic control facilities.

"We are actively working to ventilate the facility. Controllers are handling a reduced number of flights safely," the FAA stated.

There was roofing work being done on the building and some of the fumes from the adhesives got into the HVAC system, Loudoun County Fire Department spokeswoman Laura Rhinehart said.

Medics evaluated all 51 people who were inside the building. One woman was taken to a medical facility as a precaution after being exposed to the fumes.

BWI tweeted that American Airlines canceled all flights that were stuck on the ground due to the ground stop.

WUSA9's Pete Muntean observed a very still, very quiet Reagan National Airport. More than 80 flights in the D.C. area were canceled and passengers  were lining up to get re-booked.

Airport officials weren't sure how long the ground stop will last. DCA, IAD, BWI were reporting gate and taxi delays of one hour and 45 minutes to two hours and 45 minutes on the FAA website.

To get up-to-date flight statuses, click here.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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