Flights At Multiple Airports Delayed Due To Air Traffic Controller Shortage

The strain of a 34-day partial government shutdown is weighing on the nation's air-travel system

LYNNE SLADKY APThe strain of a 34-day partial government shutdown is weighing on the nation's air-travel system

In a statement to FOX 5 DC, the Federal Aviation Administration said, "We have experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two facilities".

New York-area airports - specifically Newark International and LaGuardia International - appeared to be impacted the most with the longest reported delays, according to the FAA's tracking website.

Scripps is reporting that delays are now taking place in Newark and Philadelphia as well. Philadelphia International Airport had reported departure delays of 1 hour and 14 minutes, but those have dropped back to normal operations by 11 a.m. LaGuardia delays were averaging 1 hour 26 minutes. Arrival traffic was experiencing airborne delays of 15 minutes or less.

"We are preparing a stranded passenger plan for this weekend", Kerlik said. "She's more than a friend".

"We have experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two air traffic control facilities affecting NY and Florida", the agency said. News4Jax was told the tower at JAX is normally staffed.

A second high-altitude control center in Jacksonville, Florida, also had a higher-than-expected absentee rate due to illness, according to the agency.

"The results have been minimal impacts to efficiency while maintaining consistent levels of safety in the national airspace system", Martin said in an emailed statement.

The news comes just two days after unions representing air traffic controllers, pilots and flight attendants expressed their "growing concern" for safety amid the ongoing partial government shutdown.

"They are not operating at 100 percent and that they are missing things that they normally would not miss", said Daniels.

"I feel bad because I know them personally and I know the impacts it has had on their families". "They haven't gotten paid in a while and they stood there and did their job, so I don't blame them (for walking out)".

Aviation union leaders issued a dire warning yesterday, urging the government to end the now 34-day shutdown immediately as they claim air-travel safety is "deteriorating by the day". IRS workers are claiming hardship exemptions and staging similar protests, which could delay tax refunds for Americans who need them most.

TSA reports many workers can no longer handle the financial hardship of working without pay as the partial government shutdown drags on; Laura Ingle reports. A TSA spokesman said other airports might also be getting additional help.

Airlines reacted cautiously to Friday's disruptions, trying to avoid alarming their customers.

The Federal Aviation Administration's restrictions on traffic into and out of New York's LaGuardia Airport have trickled down to Bangor International Airport, causing delays on Friday's flights between Bangor and LaGuardia.

And now that staffing crisis will continue even well after the government opens.

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