NEW YORK — The Federal Aviation Administration is reporting delays in air travel because of an increase in sick leave at two East Coast air traffic control facilities.
LaGuardia Airport in New York and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey were both experiencing delays in takeoffs.
According to the FAA’s website, arrivals at both airports are being delayed at their departure points – by up to 90 minutes at LaGuardia and an hour at Newark.
The effects have hit Canadian airports, where departure boards are showing delays and outright cancellations of flights bound for American destinations.
Air Canada has posted a travel alert for both LGA and EWR, citing Air Traffic Control restrictions at both airports. Air Canada is allowing passengers booked in and out of either airport today, Jan. 25, to alter their flight plans with no change fees.
LaGuardia Airport (@LGAairport), tweeted at about 11:10 a.m. this morning: “Due to staffing shortages at FAA air traffic control centers along the East Coast there are major delays at LGA. Confirm your flight with your airline.” LaGuardia has continued to update travellers about the length of delays throughout the day, via @LGAairport.
FAA spokesman Gregory Martin said that it had augmented staffing, rerouted traffic and increased spacing between planes as needed.
The staffing problems were at air traffic centres in Jacksonville, Florida and a Washington D.C. centre that controls high-altitude air traffic over seven states.
Martin says safety is being maintained during a period of “minimal impacts” on travel.
The White House says President Donald Trump has briefed on airport delays amid the extended partial government shutdown.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the federal government shutdown is impacting safety and security at airports and putting travellers at risk.
The Democrat wrote to Republican President Donald Trump today demanding that he reopen government immediately.
Cuomo said the partial shutdown is reducing staffing for Transportation Security Administration workers as well as air traffic controllers. He noted an increase in the number of TSA workers calling in absent, and said many air traffic controllers are working extra shifts without pay.
With files from The Canadian Press