Friday, 26 April, 2019

Flights At Multiple Airports Delayed Due To Air Traffic Controller Shortage

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 Air Traffic Controllers Warn of 'Unprecedented' Safety Risk As Government Shutdown Continues
Lloyd Bates | 26 January, 2019, 01:45

Delays are being reported at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Dulles International Airport and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, including flights to LaGuardia that are delayed by more than one hour, according to the FAA.

"We've mitigated the impact by augmenting staffing, re-routing traffic, and increasing spacing between aircraft as needed", the FAA said.

The White House said Trump had been briefed on the delays and was monitoring the situation at the airports.

Martin says safety is being maintained during a period of "minimal impacts" on travel. Trish Gilbert, a spokesman at the National Air Traffic Controllers Association appeared on CNN shortly after news of the delays broke and said the shutdown was "absolutely" linked to the stoppage. Bangor International Airport Director Tony Caruso said that it is hard to predict how the shutdown might eventually affect BIA, a small airport with only a handful of daily flights, but that he and his staff and the federal employees at the facility are taking it one day at a time.

Flights were delayed to several other major airports across the United States, including the Newark Liberty International Airport. "The public can monitor air traffic at fly.faa.gov and they should check with airline carriers for more information". That said, it's hard to confirm the exact status of flights, so check with your airline and prepare to wait out delays on the tarmac and on the taxiway.

Update, 3:00 pm ET: On Friday afternoon, U.S. President Donald Trump announced an agreement with U.S. lawmakers, securing three weeks in stop-gap funding to reopen the government.

"If we are being told that you don't have enough air traffic controllers, they are not getting rest, they're not getting paid, some aren't showing up, the likelihood of others being affected by this - you know how delicate this whole operation is", host Jim Sciutto replied.

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Rinaldi added, however, that the union has warned about the possible effects of a long government shutdown.

According to the outlet, the FAA ground stopped all inbound flights at LGA - one of America's busiest airports - after too few employees showed up to work at an air-traffic control facility in the Washington, D.C. area that impacts traffic throughout the Northeast. Administration and congressional officials said they did not think Friday's flight disruptions was the deciding factor in ending the shutdown. TSA would not to reveal callout rates for individual airports.

"But doing so while worrying about eviction, the ability to feed themselves and their families, to keep the heat on, to pay bus fare to get to work, puts this safety at risk", he said in his statement.

Air traffic controller staffing nationwide also already had been a key FAA consideration.

"There are locations where FAA engineers have quit, TSA agents have quit, air traffic controllers have quit".

JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes said, "We are close to a tipping point" as government workers faced missing paychecks for the second time in January. "And the longer this goes on, the longer it will take for the air travel infrastructure to rebound".

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