Flights delayed at Newark, LaGuardia, Philly airports from 'sick leave' staffing shortage

Muriel Colon
January 26, 2019

Martin said Friday that it had augmented staffing, rerouted traffic and increased spacing between planes as needed. "They are driving as a taxi on the way home from work, on the way to work, in the hours in between the shifts", said Mick Devine, the New England regional vice-president of the National Air Traffic Controller Association.

The White House was concerned about the economic impact of a significant disruption within the national airspace system, including the commerce it supports, the source said.

Lawmakers in the United States may have reached a short-term deal to re-open the government, but Canadians heading south of the border are still feeling the effects of the government shutdown, as flights are being delayed or cancelled because of staffing issues at US airports. Earlier on Friday, before the FAA took the action, NY governor Andrew Cuomo issued an open letter to Trump urging him to reopen the airport, citing security fears at airports.

"The shutdown hadn't affected me until now", the management consultant from Ann Arbor, Mich., tweeted.

At around 10:30 AM ET on Friday morning, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that flights into New York City's LaGuardia Airport are now being halted.

This is horrendous. @realDonaldTrump must give up his racist wall and Republicans in Congress must vote NOW to end this shutdown.

She said she was watching the news on TV at the airport, and "that's how we found out".

"We are starting to see the breakdown of the system as a result of the shutdown", said one air traffic controller, who was not authorized to speak to the media.


Despite the measures, many aviation officials said that the shutdown could portend unsafe consequences.

"This is already the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States and there is no end in sight", the unions stated. "We're in uncharted territory, so we just take it day by day". Some arriving flights are also being delayed; the FAA reports an average of 41 minute delays for LaGuardia-bound flights out of Newark International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport.

At LaGuardia, travelers learned of delayed flights from announcements over PA systems.

An afternoon Delta flight from Portland to LaGuardia was also listed as delayed as of noon Friday.

Weeks into the government shutdown, employees at airports nationwide have felt the effects and amid concerns that a decrease in the workforce could sacrifice safety and hinder travel, flights into a NY airport were delayed.

The airport recommends arriving 90 minutes before for a domestic departure, two hours for a US departure, and three hours for global departures.

"Passengers may experience delays and should check with their airline for the latest information about their flight", Massport said.

Though all New York-area air traffic centers are fully staffed, delays continued at LaGuardia because of a ground stop, the official told CNN.

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