Flights into busy New York airport halted due to staffing shortages amid government shutdown

Elham Khatami

Elham Khatami Associate Editor, ThinkProgress

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday that flights into New York’s La Guardia Airport, one of the busiest airports in the country, have been halted due to staffing shortages in the midst of the ongoing partial government shutdown.

The announcement comes just one day after aviation labor union leaders met to discuss the safety and security issues brought on by the government shutdown, including attrition and the “ramifications of being unable to address equipment and staffing shortages.”

According to the FAA, staffing issues at regional air traffic control centers, including the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center in Leesburg, VA and the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center in Hilliard, FL have affected traffic arriving at La Guardia, causing delays.

The FAA tweeted Friday morning that a “slight increase in sick leave” at two facilities has resulted in a staffing shortage.

Air traffic has also been delayed at Philadelphia and Newark airports. The delays and halted flights will likely affect airports across the country. Early reports suggested that air space around Washington, D.C. had been shut down, but an employee at Dulles Airport told ThinkProgress at the time of publication that no cancellations have been reported.

Air traffic controllers are among the 800,000 federal workers affected by the shutdown. On Wednesday, unions representing air traffic controllers, flight attendants, and pilots urged Congress and the White House to end the government shutdown, warning that the reduction in resources could affect their ability to prevent accidents.

“In our risk averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented,” the statement read.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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Reposted from ThinkProgress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

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Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

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Corruption Coordinates

Corruption Coordinates