Flights At Multiple Airports Delayed Due To Air Traffic Controller Shortage

Flights At Multiple Airports Delayed Due To Air Traffic Controller Shortage

Several major US airports, including LaGuardia Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport, are experiencing significant delays Friday morning due to air traffic controller staffing issues.

Air traffic was being delayed at LaGuardia airport in New York, Philadelphia worldwide airport and Newark Liberty global airport in New Jersey, according to the FAA's website.

A staffing shortage also was reported at a facility overseeing air traffic in Jacksonville, Florida, according to an FAA website. "As union leaders, we find it unconscionable that aviation professionals are being asked to work without pay and in an air safety environment that is deteriorating by the day".

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement: "The President has been briefed and we are monitoring the ongoing delays at some airports".

"This is anything but a sick out - it is only about our safety and the air traffic controllers' absolute commitment to it", the union said. "If you don't have enough air traffic controllers today, if this continues another day, another week, I imagine those problems snowball".

The government shutdown is now the longest ever, as Trump and congressional Democrats remain deadlocked over the president's demand for $5.7 billion to build part of a barrier on the border with Mexico.

"We've mitigated the impact by augmenting staffing, rerouting traffic, and increasing spacing between aircraft as needed", the FAA told Bloomberg in an emailed statement.

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This came as the partial government shutdown hit its 35th day, which also was the second missed payday for government workers.

"Due to the shutdown, air traffic controllers, transportation security officers, safety inspectors, air marshals, federal law enforcement officers, FBI agents, and many other critical workers have been working without pay for over a month", the statement noted. Not only that, but a lot of the equipment they use is breaking down and not getting fixed due to the government shutdown. The notice, which was obtained by Gothamist and confirmed by three controllers, stated that they would now receive pay for any sick or vacation days they take during the shutdown.

The region is one of the most trafficked airspaces in the world, with 20% of all airline passengers in the country traveling out of airports in the Northeast, according to the FAA. "We were already short-handed in all areas".

With the government temporarily reopening, it would appear they do.

"It is unprecedented", they added in a press release.

On Wednesday, 7.5 percent of US airport security officers were off the job, more than double the 3 percent rate on the same day a year earlier, the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement.

Some politicians are already using Friday's air travel issues as a shutdown talking point.

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