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DC airport to halt flights during Trump Fourth of July event

Posted at 2:52 PM, Jul 02, 2019

Runways at the busy airport serving the nation's capital will be closed Thursday during President Donald Trump's Independence Day event, federal authorities said.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Tuesday that operations at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport would be suspended between 6:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. ET to allow a ceremonial flyover of military aircraft.

The runways will also be closed from 9 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. ET for the annual fireworks display, which is not connected to Trump's "Salute to America."

Such a closure is unprecedented for July 4 events, an official said. The launch point for the fireworks has been moved from the National Mall to a nearby park to accommodate Trump's Lincoln Memorial display.

The last such runway closure was in 2015 for a commemorative flight of World War II-era planes.

The airport's website does not yet list arrivals and departures for Thursday. It showed 73 arrivals and 38 departures scheduled for the same time periods on Tuesday evening.

Micah Lillard, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, said officials "anticipate some flights at Reagan National to be affected during the late afternoon and evening."

This year's Independence Day festivities will include two fireworks displays and a flyover by the Blue Angels and the plane that serves as Air Force One.

"We're going to have planes going overhead -- the best fighter jets in the world and other planes, too," Trump said Monday.

The FAA said that emergency and medical flights would "be authorized as necessary."