USA air travel stalled as Trump agrees to temporary shutdown halt

26 January, 2019, 01:44 | Author: Corey Lynch
  • The strain of a 34-day partial government shutdown is weighing on the nation's air-travel system

It's unclear if the staffing issues are directly related to the ongoing partial government shutdown, during which air traffic controllers are working without pay.

The federal government shutdown is being blamed for flight delays at major airports in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia due to staffing shortages at a critical air traffic control center.

"We have experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two facilities".

Speaking at the USA capital's Reagan Washington National Airport, leaders of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Air Line Pilots Association and Association of Flight Attendants warned that if the deadlock between President Donald Trump and Democrats in Congress over funds for a border wall does not end soon, flights could be cut back around the country.

The White House says President Donald Trump has briefed on airport delays amid the extended partial government shutdown.

"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.

Travelers were advised to check with their airline for more information.

Delays had impacted about a third of incoming flights to LaGuardia early on Friday, according to the FlightAware tracking service.




The airport recommends arriving 90 minutes before for a domestic departure, two hours for a US departure, and three hours for global departures. A ground stop was briefly issued at LaGuardia, but has since been lifted.

"Naturally, a plane load of Canadians was patient and polite", said Mr. Matlow, who was travelling to see his daughter Orli Matlow perform at a comedy show in Brooklyn. Staff shortages there can have ripple effects outward into the rest of the country. They have been doing unbelievably heroic work even as they are betrayed by the government that employs them.

The bigger concern is air traffic controllers - the people in charge of making sure your plane takes off and lands safely.

Air travel is not at a peak at present, but the next major holiday is President's Day weekend in mid-February, usually one of the most popular travel times of the year. "Those customers wishing to make alternate travel arrangements can do so without penalty, space permitting".

A spokesman for Chicago-based United Airlines said the delays at O'Hare were not a result of a LaGuardia ground stop. The airline flies 13 weekday return trips to LaGuardia from Toronto and eight from Montreal.

Lauren Stewart, a spokeswoman for Calgary-based WestJet, said travellers should check on their flight status before going to the airport.

Newark Airport's air traffic controllers are among the more than 5,000 furloughed federal government employees who have been without salaries for weeks as a result of the government shutdown.

"The controllers that work at airports are taking up Uber jobs, or Lyft".

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