FAA: Flights delayed at major USA airports due to staffing

Dwayne Harmon
Января 26, 2019

LaGuardia airport said in a tweet on Friday afternoon that lengthy delays at the airport were ongoing. Then the White House saw it play out in real time Friday morning with air traffic control staffing issues causing massive delays in several northeastern airports. "We've mitigated the impact by augmenting staffing, rerouting traffic, and increasing spacing between aircraft when needed", said Gregory Martion, an FAA spokesman. The results have been minimal impacts to efficiency while maintaining consistent levels of safety in the national airspace system.

Three unions for air traffic control workers issued a statement on Wednesday urging Congress and the White House to fund the government due to "unprecedented" risks to the air safety environment.

Union leaders and USA airline bosses warned of the rising impact to the aviation system Thursday, with JetBlue Airways Corp.

This is breaking story, check back for updates. "We are here to say end the shutdown, stand with these folks and stand with us as a nation to end the shutdown", said Norton, while standing among other union members calling for an end to the government shutdown.

"They [the traffic controllers] are making them because they're stressed out, because they don't know when this is going to end and they're distracted", Trish Gilbert, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said Thursday on PBS NewsHour.

"We are closely monitoring the situation on the East Coast today", Chicago Aviation Department spokeswoman Lauren Huffman said in an emailed statement.

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The long-awaited breakthrough - the government has been shut down since December 22 - comes on the same day that two major USA airports were forced to slow the pace of arrivals and departures due to a shortage of air-traffic controllers. In the case of air traffic control, about 60 other countries have de-politicized air traffic control, removing this vital function from the government budget by setting it up as a self-supporting corporate entity-generally either a government corporation or a nonprofit, private corporation.

The union that represents air traffic controllers sounded the alarm in a statement released Friday, expressing their concerns over air safety and working conditions amid the government shutdown.

TSA has been moving agents to airports where there are shortages, and occasionally consolidating checkpoints, to prevent lines from getting too long. The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) had briefly halted flights entirely at LaGuardia, one of the busiest airports in the United States, Friday morning, although that notice has now been lifted. That said, it's hard to confirm the exact status of flights, so check with your airline and prepare to wait out delays on the tarmac and on the taxiway.

Air traffic controller staffing nationwide also already had been a key FAA consideration.

In B.C., Vancouver International Airport says operations are normal.

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