Shortage of controllers affecting flights at Dane County airport

January 26, 2019
The Dane County Regional Airport is seen in a 2018 file photo.

Air traffic controllers not showing up for work because they aren’t getting paid during the government shutdown are causing a ripple effect of flight delays across the country, including here in Madison.

The Dane County Regional Airport’s arrival and departure boards show two departing flights and three arriving flights are delayed by an hour or two hours each as of noon Friday.

The Delta flight to La Guardia in New York supposed to take off at 12:04 is now taking off at 1:54, and the United flight to Newark supposed to take off at 12:25 is now taking off at 2:30.

Incoming flights from Delta are delayed as well.

The 11:29 flight from La Guardia has been pushed back to 1:27; the 4:45 flight from Washington D.C. has been pushed back to 5:37, and the 6:01 flight from La Guardia has been pushed back to 6:55.

The Federal Aviation Administration said a main problem was at two high-altitude air traffic control facilities, one near Washington and the other in Jacksonville, where sick calls by controllers resulted in the FAA slowing down takeoffs and departures on the East Coast so working controllers could handle the flow.

La Guardia had been closed to incoming flights early Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Tweets from Dane County Regional Airport earlier on Friday said there were delays at other airports, including O’Hare in Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando and Philadelphia.

Airport spokesman Brent McHenry said when flights are delayed at the big airports that planes from Madison fly to, it results in delays back and forth to Madison as well.

Earlier this week, Madison’s airport was closed for several hours when the terminal was dark because of a power failure, caused by the extremely cold weather.

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