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FAA lifts ground stop at LaGuardia Airport, others experiencing delays because of gov’t shutdown

January 25, 2019

The Federal Aviation Administration lifted the ground stop it placed on LaGuardia Airport Friday, although airports are still experiencing delays because of the partial government shutdown.

FAA decided to halt flights earlier Friday morning due to an air traffic controller shortage at a regional air traffic center.

Delays affected flights at LaGuardia, Philadelphia and Newark airports.

According to updates from the FAA website, the backlog appears to have eased in Philadelphia, but they are still impacting traffic in New York and New Jersey.

The agency confirmed the delays on Twitter and urged the public to check their flight information on their website.

“We have experienced an increase in sick leave at two facilities,” the statement read. “We are missing the impact by augmenting staffing, rerouting traffic, and increasing spacing between aircraft when needed.”

On Thursday, the FAA released a statement countering the concerns many have voiced about the shutdown’s impact on air travel.

“The traveling public can be assured that our nation’s airspace system is safe,” the statement read. “The FAA continually reviews and analyzes its performance to assess its safety and efficiency. We remain grateful to the air traffic controllers, technicians and inspectors for their continued professionalism and dedication to their safety mission.”

However, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Air Line Pilots Association, and the Association of Flight Attendants released a statement saying the situation is dire. They explained that the system used to analyze safety data may not be fully operations because of reduced resources.

“In our risk averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented,” they wrote.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blamed President Trump for the FAA’s mounting problems.

“The #TrumpShutdown has already pushed hundreds of thousands of Americans to the breaking point. Now it’s pushing our airspace to the breaking point too,” she wrote. ”[Donald Trump] stop endangering the safety, security and well-being of our nation.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president is aware of the situation.

“The President has been briefed and we are monitoring the ongoing delays at some airports. We are in regular contact with officials at the Department of Transportation and the FAA,” she said in a statement.

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