The Federal Aviation Administration halted flights into La Guardia Airport in New York on Friday morning due to air traffic control staffing shortages. As of 11 a.m. delays of incoming flights averaged an hour and 26 minutes, according to FlightAware. A ground stop also delayed departing flights by as much as a half hour, while a so-called air traffic management program at nearby Newark Airport in New Jersey has delayed some arrivals by an average of one hour.
Air Traffic controllers have worked without pay due to the U.S. government shutdown, which entered its 35th day on Friday.
An FAA statement on twitter posted Friday morning confirmed an increase in sick leave at two facilities. “We are mitigating the impact by augmenting staffing, rerouting traffic, and increasing spacing between aircraft when needed,” it said.
Speaking Thursday during his company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes warned of the government shutdown reaching a “tipping point” as federal employees were about to miss a second paycheck.
“Our crewmembers and customers are likely to face extended security lines, flight delays, and even cancellations and the longer this goes on the longer it will take for the air transport infrastructure to rebound,” he said.