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A Great Big City

Flights Delayed at LaGuardia Over Staffing Issues

Laguardia Airport
Laguardia Airport via Dr.DeNo on Flickr

The FAA issued a notice of delays on flights arriving at LaGuardia Airport of up to 41 minutes due to staffing issues.

On the 35th day of a federal government shutdown and on a day when federal workers would receive their second $0 paycheck, the air traffic control system is beginning to feel the impact. The FAA notice cites staffing issues at two regions that oversee flights along the east coast, and will implement delays on incoming flights at their point of origin to place more distance between flights landing at LaGuardia.

LaGuardia delay notice via FAA

FAA spokesperson Gregory Martin stated: "We have experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two facilities. We’ve mitigated the impact by augmenting staffing, rerouting traffic, and increasing spacing between aircraft when needed. The results have been minimal impacts to efficiency while maintaining consistent levels of safety in the national airspace system."

Anecdotal stories of TSA agents and air traffic control workers attempting to deal with the strain of the shutdown by calling out sick and looking for outside work have been shared on social media since the beginning of January, when Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Tyler Houlton called the reports "fake news".

During the shutdown, various companies and volunteers have stepped up to provide airport workers with food and donations.

Friday, January 25 at 10:50 AM πŸ“Ž

Delays on arrivals at LaGuardia have increased from 41 minutes to 1 hour, 26 minutes.

Friday, January 25 at 8:21 PM πŸ“Ž

Ten hours after the initial FAA advisory, flights coming into LaGuardia are still subject to an average delay of 1 hour, 15 minutes due to "ZDC Recovery", with ZDC being the designation for the Washington D.C.-area air traffic control center that coordinates air travel along the east coast.

An afternoon press conference at the White House announcing a temporary reopening of the government makes the coincidence hard to ignore: Did six air traffic controllers staying home today end the government shutdown by showing how disastrous the shutdown had become?

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