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ATC at airports temporarily closed.

Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:27 pm

Due to Hurricane Dorine, FLL, PBI and MCO had to shut down for a day. When an airport is temporarily shut down for weather reasons do the air traffic controllers assigned to that airport still remain on duty as long it is safe to do so?

Thanks for your responses.
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Re: ATC at airports temporarily closed.

Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:08 pm

Only the radar stays active as they control the higher airspace above the airport and the wider area around it. They also monitor overflying traffic.

Lower ATC positions like approach / tower / ground are closed. If needed, their tasks are being taken over by the radar.
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Re: ATC at airports temporarily closed.

Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:25 pm

The airport operator (owner) and the FAA ATC services are different agencies. The Centers operate almost never closing except as when Chicago closed due to fire. MIami Center and Oceanic Control (KZMA) certainly stayed open as it covers a lot of airspace. Approach radar at places like MCO likely stay open to serve airports outside the weather area. Or the services transferred to TPA. For example, MCO approach covers a lot of airports west of MCO, so they’d provide radar services there. MCO tower (local, in ATC parlance) probably closed for safety reasons.

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Re: ATC at airports temporarily closed.

Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:14 am

In this case, MCO was closed to scheduled traffic, but open to Ferry and other flights. So I assume there was a skeleton crew.
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Re: ATC at airports temporarily closed.

Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:46 pm

In the case for many GA airports such as FXE and BCT the airports never "closed", just NOTAMed "unattended". ATC services were not available, nor was FBO or Customs, however the airports remained open if needed. Treated kind of like EMS in a hurricane, if anything happens we'll get to you after the storm passes.

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