The Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) was evacuated after a fire broke out in the control center. The center, located in Leesburg, Virginia is the third-busiest air traffic control center in the United States and covers about 430,000 km2 of airspace including airports in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia and North Carolina.
Currently air traffic at Baltimore/Washington International (BWI), Washington Dulles International (IAD) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) has been halted.
In a statement the FAA said that:
Local fire officials directed the FAA to evacuate the Washington Center in Leesburg, VA at about 6:00 PM after fumes from construction work permeated the control room. The center 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 landing. We are actively working to fully ventilate the facility. We will update the statement when we get new information.
It’s primary responsability is the separation of airplane flights and the expedited sequencing of arrivals and departures along STARs (Standard Terminal Arrival Routes) and SIDs (Standard Instrument Departures) for the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Area, the New York Metropolitan Area, and Philadelphia among many other areas. (wikipedia: Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center)
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— NYCAviation (@NYCAviation) July 10, 2017
Smoke and evacuation at Washington Air Route Control Center (ARTCC) causing delays & ground stops at Washington area airports. pic.twitter.com/asHwVZO9BZ
— Tom Podolec CTV News (@TomPodolec) July 10, 2017
Featured image: By Work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of 17 U.S.C. § 105 – http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/controller_staffing/images/AirTraffic-8.jpg [dead link], Public Domain, Link