Delays at LaGuardia, Newark airports due to government shutdown

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Friday, January 25, 2019

NEW YORK -- Delays are reported at LaGuardia, Newark and other airports due to air traffic controller staffing shortages amid the government shutdown.

FAA says a small uptick in air traffic controllers calling out sick on Friday.

The FAA tells ABC News in a statement:

"We have experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two air traffic control facilities affecting New York and Florida. As with severe storms, we will adjust operations to a safe rate to match available controller resources. We've mitigated the impact by augmenting staffing, rerouting traffic, and increasing spacing between aircraft as needed. The results have been minimal impacts to efficiency while maintaining consistent levels of safety in the national airspace system. The public can monitor air traffic at and they should check with airline carriers for more information."

LaGuardia Airport in New York and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey were both experiencing delays in takeoffs.

Some passengers took to social media to report delays.

The current slowdown in the airspace over New York and Florida is due to staffing shortages at centers in Washington and Jacksonville, an FAA spokesperson tells ABC News.

The most critical staffing shortage is Washington, which affects NY airspace in terms of incoming and outgoing flights.

The FAA is trying to clear the airspace, which should take about another hour, and then they hope to return to more normal operations.

The White House says President Trump has been briefed on the situation.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says delays at East Coast airports amid a partial federal government shutdown are another symptom of the "federal madness" caused by Republican President Donald Trump.

The Democrat says the delays are hurting the economy and impacting airport safety and security. His comments came at an unrelated event in Manhattan Friday morning.

Earlier in the day Cuomo wrote to Trump demanding an end to the shutdown, saying it could become a national security issue.