Flights delayed at major USA airports due to traffic controller shortage

Air Traffic Controllers Warn of 'Unprecedented' Safety Risk As Government Shutdown Continues

Other airports in the Northeast, including Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and Philadelphia International Airport, were also experiencing delays, according to FlightAware.

The disruptions are the strongest evidence yet that the 35-day government shutdown threatens to snarl the nation's air travel system.

Air traffic controllers have been working without pay since the partial federal shutdown.

At LaGuardia, the FAA said it was bringing in extra staff, increasing spacing between aircraft and rerouting traffic, but warned of delays for arriving flights of almost 90 minutes. It's located in Leesburg, Virginia. That center handles air traffic on its way to and from the NY area and the Mid-Atlantic states.

The White House had been discussing the shutdown's impact on commercial aviation with officials at federal transportation agencies, according to a source familiar with the talks.

The situation is similar in Montreal, where 10 flights, primarily those heading to LaGuardia, were delayed.

Shetty tried to shrug it off.

By early afternoon, more than 2,400 USA flights had been delayed, according to tracking service FlightAware, although the situation seemed to be improving from earlier in the day.

As of Friday morning, the staffing issues are occurring at the Washington ARTCC (Air Route Traffic Control Center) and at the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center, both of which are facilities that control aircraft while they're flying at high altitudes between airports.

The ground delay, while it was less than an hour long, is likely to put additional stress on the Trump administration to settle the ongoing shutdown. WestJet said it began seeing delays and cancellations earlier on Friday, and expects more unless air traffic control staffing levels at some US airports improves.

Indeed, such a walkout has happened before: In 1981, nearly 13,000 air-traffic controllers picketed after talks between the union and the Federal Aviation Administration broke down.

"To my Democratic friends: Money for a barrier is required to get this deal done", he said on the Senate floor, explaining that Trump's spending of the funds would be limited to plans approved by the Department of Homeland Security. IRS workers are claiming hardship exemptions and staging similar protests, which could delay tax refunds for Americans who need them most.

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He has asked aides whether Transportation Security Administration and Federal Aviation Administration workers are breaking laws by calling out sick, likening it to the air traffic controllers strike during the Reagan administration.

The Union representatives also warned that 20 percent of certified air traffic controllers were eligible for retirement, and if they chose to suddenly do so the National Airspace system would be left completely crippled.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport had the second-longest wait time, of 19 minutes.

"What we're seeing is people having to make hard decisions after getting no paycheck this week", Paul Rinaldi, the president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said in an interview with CBS News Thursday.

"It's obvious that it's related to the shutdown", says Bob Ocon, a 63-year-old traffic management support specialist and former air traffic controller from Wading River, New York. "It's starting to happen", said Chuck Banks, an FAA safety inspector in Florida. The partial shutdown is impacting about 800,000 federal employees, including TSA and airport staff.

"We are less safe today", Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson said at a press conference on Thursday.

Until the government opens back up, the Stephensons' said they aren't sure if Scott will even get back pay.

It's too early to say whether widespread flight delays at major East Coast airports will break the shutdown stalemate.

Fliers can check delays at and they should check with airline carriers for more information.

USA lawmakers and the White House faced intensifying pressure Friday to resolve a five-week impasse and reopen government, as the political stalemate has begun to affect the nation's busy airports.

"No one can predict what impact it will have as it continues", Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly said of the shutdown on Thursday. "It just absolutely needs to end".

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