Air Traffic Controllers, Pilots, Flight Attendants Issue Scary Warning About Air Safety

Volunteers distribute food to furloughed federal workers in Philadelphia

Volunteers distribute food to furloughed federal workers in Philadelphia

As the shutdown nears its 35th day, all flights were experiencing delays of an hour or more at Liberty International Airport Friday morning due to staffing issues, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The ground stop early Friday meant that flights could not fly into the Queens, New York City, airport, FAA said.

LaGuardia Airport in NY and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey were the hardest hit, but delays rippled across the nation's air-travel system.

The Union representatives also warned that 20 percent of certified air traffic controllers were eligible for retirement, and if they chose to suddenly do so the National Airspace system would be left completely crippled. "Some arriving flights are also being delayed", NBC 4 NY reported.

Aviation union leaders issued a dire warning yesterday, urging the government to end the now 34-day shutdown immediately as they claim air-travel safety is "deteriorating by the day".

President Donald Trump announced Friday a short-term deal to reopen the government for three weeks as intensifying delays at the nation's airports and widespread disruptions brought new urgency to efforts to resolve the standoff.

He wrote: "Among air traffic controllers, who are responsible for the safe flow of planes on the ground and in the air, staffing was already at record lows before the shutdown and the shutdown has only exacerbated the problem and increased pressure on staffing even further".

"We've mitigated the impact by augmenting staffing, rerouting traffic, and increasing spacing between aircraft as needed", the agency said in an emailed statement.

"We are closely monitoring the situation on the East Coast today", Chicago Aviation Department spokeswoman Lauren Huffman said in an emailed statement. "The #TrumpShutdown has already pushed hundreds of thousands of Americans to the breaking point", tweeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. As the shutdown continues, the manpower shortages will get worse rather than better, and some of these workers might not come back when Congress and the White House finally agree on a funding package.

"We advise passengers to please check with your airline before coming to the airport to get the latest on your delay, so you're not waiting at the airport extra time", he said. TSA employees at airports have been calling out sick in protest, with 10 percent of scheduled workers missing shifts last Sunday.

Flight delays are just one ancillary outcome of the shutdown that have affected air travel. The airports with the longest average wait times were Atlanta with 42 minutes and Baltimore at 37 minutes.

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

"There are no options to keep these professionals at work without a paycheck when they can no longer afford to support their families", the statement said.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.