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Delays and diversions as air traffic control centre is evacuated due to fumes

Image Credit: Reuters

A Delta Airlines aircraft lines up for take off at BWI Thurgood Marshall International Airport.

Washington: Flights to and from the US capital Washington were experiencing delays and diversions Monday evening after an air traffic control tower had to be evacuated because of fumes, authorities said.

Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Thurgood Marshall Airport, Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport were all impacted following the incident in the town of Leesburg, Virginia.

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“Local fire officials directed the FAA to evacuate the Washington Centre in Leesburg, VA at about 6:40 pm after fumes from construction work permeated the control room,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

“The centre handles high altitude flights over the area. The facility stopped accepting new flights and handed off airborne flights to other air traffic control facilities for safe handling. We are actively working to fully ventilate the facility. We will update the statement when we get new information,” it added.

Delays were expected to last well into the night. BWI Marshall added American Airlines would cancel any flights that “are not currently airborne.”