Flights At Multiple Airports Delayed Due To Air Traffic Controller Shortage

Virginia Carson
January 26, 2019

The delays come amid the ongoing partial USA government shutdown, which began on 22 December and has left 800,000 federal employees without pay cheques.

The Federal Aviation Administration saw delays Friday because of a "slight increase in sick leave" at air-traffic control centers that handle traffic over NY and Florida, said agency spokesman Gregory Martin.

FAA spokesman Gregory Martin said Friday that it had augmented staffing, rerouted traffic and increased spacing between planes as needed.

Martin says safety is being maintained during a period of "minimal impacts" on travel.

"The shutdown has been on way too long", Gilbert said. "I travel every week, and nothing surprises me".

Trump said on Friday he had reached a deal with US lawmakers for three weeks in stop-gap funding that would end the budget stalemate with Democrats.

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Air traffic controllers (ATCs), whose numbers were already at a 30-year low, have been working without pay for 35 days, because of the partial government shutdown.

Financial hardship due to the government shutdown has prompted some federal airport workers to call out of work causing some passenger interruptions.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association's (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi issued a statement on Friday saying the union does not endorse coordinated absences.

An electronic paystub dated January 5, 2019, for an air-traffic controller at Reagan National Airport shows a net payment of $0.00.

The government shutdown, the longest in USA history, is approaching its sixth week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that the shutdown was "pushing our airspace to the breaking point".

The union representing the aviation inspectors and technicians at the FAA and the American Federation of Government Employees protested outside Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Friday morning, calling for the end of the government shutdown.

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LaGuardia airport said in a tweet on Friday afternoon that lengthy delays at the airport were ongoing. TSA would not to reveal callout rates for individual airports. As the shutdown continues, the manpower shortages will get worse rather than better, and some of these workers might not come back when Congress and the White House finally agree on a funding package.

"There are locations where FAA engineers have quit, TSA agents have quit, air traffic controllers have quit". Controllers prioritize safety, they said, and can only handle so much traffic at one time.

"If it were a compromise, the president would have talked to us about it", said Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia. "This is unreasonable", she said. Philadelphia International Airport was also experiencing delays, CNN reported.

"In this spirit, we urge that the federal government be reopened before shutdown impacts begin to escalate".

Furloughed federal workers and their families who are affected by the partial government shutdown wait in line to receive food distributed by Philabundance volunteers under Interstate 95 in Philadelphia, Jan. 23, 2019.

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