SNA Tower Closing - Covid

Old Nov 23, 20, 12:14 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Programs: VX Gold/WN Companion
Posts: 668
SNA Tower Closing - Covid

Heads up for anyone flying in or out of SNA - John Wayne Airport in Orange County, CA for which WN is a major player at...ATC Tower is closing due to a Covid case and expect delays in and out of that airport as a result.

What happens in this case is that the airport operates as "uncontrolled" for which there are procedures for and many smaller airports operate as but what that means is that SoCal Approach ATC Controllers can only allow into and out air traffic at a much slower measured rate since there are no longer eye in the ground.

Gonna be a mess.


PAX62 is offline  
Old Nov 23, 20, 1:31 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Blue Ridge, GA
Posts: 5,099
Originally Posted by PAX62 View Post
SoCal Approach ATC Controllers can only allow into and out air traffic at a much slower measured rate since there are no longer eye in the ground.

Gonna be a mess.
The FAA maintains it won't be a mess.



LegalTender is offline  
Old Nov 23, 20, 2:00 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Programs: VX Gold/WN Companion
Posts: 668
Originally Posted by LegalTender View Post
The FAA maintains it won't be a mess.

That statement just says it will be operating "safely" which it will...that does not speak to the operational limitations that will be in place during the peak times of the closure.

Arriving traffic is sequenced in MUCH slower and there is a whole communication procedure that need to happen back to SoCal ATC before that can clear the next plane for an approach
PAX62 is offline  
Old Nov 23, 20, 2:24 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Blue Ridge, GA
Posts: 5,099
Originally Posted by PAX62 View Post
That statement just says it will be operating "safely" which it will...that does not speak to the operational limitations that will be in place during the peak times of the closure.

Arriving traffic is sequenced in MUCH slower and there is a whole communication procedure that need to happen back to SoCal ATC before that can clear the next plane for an approach
Scaled down operations and hours seem somewhat different than "SNA Tower Closure." And "no eyes on the ground" is a leap.

FAA direct numbers are there for your convenience regarding operational limitations.
LegalTender is offline  
Old Nov 23, 20, 2:46 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Programs: VX Gold/WN Companion
Posts: 668
Are you a pilot as well?

Here is the NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) that is issued to us as pilots:

!SNA 11/061 SNA SVC TWR CLSD CLASS C SERVICE NOT AVBL CTC SOCAL APCH AT 800-448-XXXX EXTENSION 2 2011240045-2011240700

SNA Tower is CLOSED. That means no ATC is monitoring operations on the ground at SNA that would be clearing planes for takeoff and landings nor directing ground traffic and the status of the airport reverts to "uncontrolled" (for which there are procedures for that the FAA link you posted references). That happens via pilots having to self announce and IFR sequencing of takeoff and landings by SoCal Approach can only happen at a SIGNIFICANTLY slower rate than normal.

HOPEFULLY they will be able to keep up, but for a major airport like SNA it will most defiantly cause delays if that closure is maintained during peak times.

Last edited by PAX62; Nov 23, 20 at 3:09 pm
PAX62 is offline  
Old Nov 23, 20, 3:22 pm
  #6  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: MCI
Programs: AA Gold 1MM, AS MVP, UA Silver, WN A-List, Marriott LT Titanium, HH Diamond
Posts: 51,158
Noob question: is this because it takes them a week to clean the building (the physical tower where the controllers work) or because so many controllers are sick and they don't have people to backfill the positions from other airports?

With total air travel still somewhat less than it would be on a "normal" Thanksgiving week, how bad are the delays at SNA likely to be? Can airlines proactively publish revised flight times for the next few days that meet the required gaps between arrivals and departures?
pinniped is offline  
Old Nov 23, 20, 3:38 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Programs: VX Gold/WN Companion
Posts: 668
Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Noob question: is this because it takes them a week to clean the building (the physical tower where the controllers work) or because so many controllers are sick and they don't have people to backfill the positions from other airports?
Due to necessary training specific to a facility's procedures they can't just throw other controllers in to fill in. Sounds like there have been a few positive cases and have since sanitized the tower and are working with a skeleton crew from those that did not have contact with the controllers that were positive.
synergistic and writerguyfl like this.
PAX62 is offline  
Old Nov 23, 20, 3:41 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Blue Ridge, GA
Posts: 5,099
Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
With total air travel still somewhat less than it would be on a "normal" Thanksgiving week, how bad are the delays at SNA likely to be? Can airlines proactively publish revised flight times for the next few days that meet the required gaps between arrivals and departures?
Airport PIO Deanne Thompson says "there are no disruptions to SNA's published flight schedules."

"Disruptions" and "delays" have different meanings and she may have been hairsplitting. But for now, it doesn't appear to be "a mess."
LegalTender is offline  
Old Nov 23, 20, 4:04 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: ORD, MDW or MKE
Programs: American and Southwest. Hilton and Choice hotels primarily.
Posts: 6,340
Seems like "published' is the key word here. Of course there are no published disruptions.
PAX62 and writerguyfl like this.
lougord99 is offline  
Old Nov 23, 20, 4:17 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: MCI
Programs: CBP Global Entry, WN A-List Preferred, WN Companion Pass
Posts: 1,993
People, Seriously?

A daily/nightly event for months all over the country. At least a couple of instances recently where 4+/- Centers (identifier starts with a Z) were all ATC Zero in one night.

Your best resource for the Big Picture is here:

https://www.fly.faa.gov/adv/advAdvisoryForm.jsp

Leave the check-boxes as they are; you can change the date drop-down to go backwards for a rolling two weeks.

Click "Show Selected Advisories", the hyperlink next to the advisory number for "Operations Plan" displays The Big Picture. Normally the Operations Plan is updated every 2 hours.

Remember that all times displayed are UTC.
LegalTender and synergistic like this.
steved5480 is offline  
Old Nov 23, 20, 4:45 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 1,773
Originally Posted by steved5480 View Post
People, Seriously?

A daily/nightly event for months all over the country. At least a couple of instances recently where 4+/- Centers (identifier starts with a Z) were all ATC Zero in one night.

Your best resource for the Big Picture is here:

https://www.fly.faa.gov/adv/advAdvisoryForm.jsp

Leave the check-boxes as they are; you can change the date drop-down to go backwards for a rolling two weeks.

Click "Show Selected Advisories", the hyperlink next to the advisory number for "Operations Plan" displays The Big Picture. Normally the Operations Plan is updated every 2 hours.

Remember that all times displayed are UTC.
I was going to respond something along these lines initially, but the link in the first post said they would be closed until the 30th - that would be a bigger deal than going atc0 for a few hours during a mid or even reducing hours of operation. That's happened plenty with little impact. I don't think this (so many controllers were exposed that they can't operate even at minimal staffing) has happened to a tower this size yet. I'm not exactly certain that's what's going to happen (really? SNA over a major holiday?) but if it does, it's a bit more intense than a days later midnight cleaning crew.
synergistic is offline  
Old Nov 23, 20, 5:08 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Blue Ridge, GA
Posts: 5,099
Originally Posted by synergistic View Post
I was going to respond something along these lines initially, but the link in the first post said they would be closed until the 30th - that would be a bigger deal than going atc0 for a few hours during a mid or even reducing hours of operation.
FAA on "reducing hours of operation":

synergistic likes this.
LegalTender is offline  
Old Nov 23, 20, 5:16 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 1,773
That sounds so much more like what I've come to expect. I have been following along with the ATC situation pretty closely. I'm not sure what kind of schedule SNA had been running, but they've been trying NAS wide to run on skeleton crews to attempt to rotate crews to avoid potential exposure between them. Some facilities just plain don't have the staffing for that, so the wrong person testing positive can send a lot of people home to quarantine. I'm glad they've still got the crew to handle the pushes.
LegalTender and steved5480 like this.

Last edited by synergistic; Nov 23, 20 at 6:25 pm
synergistic is offline  
Old Nov 24, 20, 10:22 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: SNA
Programs: Bonvoy LTTE/AMB, AmEx Plat, National EE, WN CP, CLEAR, Covid-19
Posts: 4,647
I've got a in/out day trip on the 27th and one to UT on the 30th ... I'll post if things go sideways those days
kennycrudup is offline  
Old Nov 25, 20, 12:28 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: SNA
Programs: Bonvoy LTTE/AMB, AmEx Plat, National EE, WN CP, CLEAR, Covid-19
Posts: 4,647
Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
... or because so many controllers are sick infected ...
FTFY. BIG difference.
kennycrudup is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread