Air traffic controllers at the TRACON facility in Westbury detected an odor of gas at around 6:45 p.m. Everyone was evacuated until the fire department could check and clear the building. 25 controllers volunteered to stay behind to handle flights already in the air.
In order to limit the number of planes coming into the three area airports, the FAA stopped all planes at their departure cities. The fire department cleared the TRACON building at 7:30 p.m. and the flight hold was lifted shortly thereafter.
There were residual delays reported at at Newark and LaGuardia Airports.
The cause of the gas odor is undetermined.
The TRACON Air Traffic Control Center handles airplanes traveling between 3,000 and 17,000 feet in a 100 mile radius around NYC. They hand off planes to 65 airports, including JFK, LaGuardia and Newark.