Aviation News

July 10, 2012

Newark Airport Control Tower Evacuated Due to Smoke [UPDATED]

Newark Liberty International Airport control tower.
Newark Liberty International Airport control tower.
Flights into Newark Liberty International Airport were halted Tuesday afternoon after smoke was reported in the control tower’s elevator shaft and air traffic controllers were evacuated.

“Air traffic controllers are now managing air traffic at the alternate site and will remain there until the issue in the tower is resolved,” the FAA said.

Flights to Newark were being held at their origin until at least 2:00 PM ET, and flights in the air were subject to 15 minute arrival delays. Departing flights were also delayed.

At least one flight enroute to Newark was diverted to another airport.

It marked the second time in about 16 months that Newark’s control tower had been evacuated.

UPDATE 3:45 PM ET: The FAA said controllers returned to the tower at 2:00 PM after working from the backup location for about an hour. The cause of the smoke was not known.

The FAA did not know the exact number of delayed or diverted flights, but according to the Newark flight status page on the Port Authority website, one flight, United 4779, a Dash 8 from Rochester scheduled to arrive at around 1 PM, diverted to Scranton during the outage. It finally landed at Newark at 3:21 PM.

Newark continued to experience relatively minor 35 minute arrival delays throughout the afternoon.