CVG shuts down control tower overnight, but no issues reported

Indianapolis tower keeps watch

HEBRON, Ky. -- The CVG control tower and radar were shut down overnight, but there was no need for fliers to be concerned, an airport official said.

The Indianapolis Air Route Traffic Center helped guide pilots in and out of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport as necessary while work crews performed scheduled, FAA-required maintenance, according to Bobby Spann, airport director of external affairs.

The tower was scheduled to be dark from 11 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Sunday while crews replaced the backup power system, Spann said. During that time, there were about 20 scheduled passenger arrivals and 12 cargo arrivals and departures.

Spann told WCPO Sunday that no issues were reported.

It’s rare for an airport tower to go dark, said aviation expert Jay Ratliff.

“But it’s happened before and not affected operations,” Ratliff said.

Ratliff cited similar instances in Indianapolis and Cleveland within the last “five or six years” and maybe “eight to 10 times in the last 10 years”  in the northeast.

The CVG tower had to shut down on March 10, 1986, but that was during a weather emergency.  A storm with tornado-like winds broke out the tower windows and damaged planes on the tarmac.

“The thing that catches me off guard is they’re doing it now, in the busy season, when they usually do it in September or May,” Ratliff said.

But Ratliff didn’t expect any flight delays heading into the overnight outage.

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