FAA: Increase in sick leave causing flight delays at major airports

Carlos Gonzalez right hugs his daughter as she waits in line at a security checkpoint at Miami International Airport in Miami. The strain of a 34-day partial government shutdown is weighing on the nation’s air-travel system. (AP

A shortage of air-traffic control personnel prompted the FAA to halt flights into New York City's LaGuardia Airport, a major global hub, CNBC reports this morning.

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.

LaGuardia Airport in New York City, Philadelphia International Airport, and Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey, are all operating with delays, according to the FAA's status website.

Larry Fischer, the union rep in Lansing for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) is concerned about old equipment like their radar which can't be upgraded because of the shutdown.

Though all New York-area air traffic centers are fully staffed, delays continued at LaGuardia because of a ground stop, the official told CNN.

During the shutdown, an estimated 800,000 government employees are working without pay, with around 51,000 of them being TSA agents and over 22,000 of them employed by Air Traffic Control, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This entire statement from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association is terrifying.

President Donald Trump announced Friday a short-term deal to reopen the government for three weeks as intensifying delays at the nation's airports and widespread disruptions brought new urgency to efforts to resolve the standoff.

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Caruso said that the effects of short staffing at major hubs including New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., can be magnified due to the size of the facility.

The FAA also has frozen its hiring and training for new air traffic controllers, which the unions say will create a hiccup in staffing when the government finally reopens.

Travelers endured widespread flight delays in the Northeast as federal officials grappled with a shortage of air traffic controllers, who missed paychecks Friday because of the partial government shutdown. Not only that, but a lot of the equipment they use is breaking down and not getting fixed due to the government shutdown. Friday is the 35th day of the government shutdown.

As of Sunday, the number of TSA agents who failed to show up for work climbed to a record 10 percent, compared to about 3 percent at the same time a year ago.

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

"Controllers take their responsibility to protect the safety of the flying public at all costs very seriously".

"We advise passengers to please check with your airline before coming to the airport to get the latest on your delay, so you're not waiting at the airport extra time", he said.

"It was supposed to set out at 9:02 so we were delayed over an hour and a half", Di Paola said in a message to NJ Advance Media while his flight was en route to Florida. "We are already short-staffed".

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