Flights into Dallas halted after reports of smoke at FAA facility

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Flights into Dallas were halted and departing flights were severely delayed Wednesday afternoon due to the evacuation of a building housing air traffic controllers.

FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said air traffic controllers were forced to evacuate from the DFW Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON), which manages airspace across North Texas, due to reports of smoke, possibly due to nearby construction.

A ground stop was issued to manage traffic. That meant all flights scheduled to depart for Dallas were held at their originating airport. The ground stop was lifted just before 2 p.m. Dallas time after the smoke was cleared, Lunsford said.

At Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, a major hub for American Airlines, the FAA was reporting departure delays of at least an hour and says the delays are increasing. 

At Dallas Love Field, home to Southwest Airlines, Southwest says some arriving and departing flights have been diverted or canceled. Travelers are encouraged to check their flight status before heading to the airport.

Lunsford said the facility that was evacuated was a radar room. The two control towers at DFW are still staffed and operational. Under the FAA’s contingency plan, controllers from the radar room are relocating to the control towers at DFW to resume limited service in the affected airspace for both DFW and Dallas Love Field.

Published 3:32 PM EST Feb 13, 2019