As air traffic controllers call in sick
Air traffic grinds to a halt in the Eastern US
Dan de Vries and Sandy English
26 January 2019
A shortage of air traffic controllers on Friday morning at airports in the East Coast of the United States, but particularly in Washington, D. C., and Florida, caused the Federal Aviation Administrate (FAA) to substantially slow air traffic throughout the region, the most populous part of the US.
According to media reports, “Arriving flights from Newark International and Philadelphia International airports were being delayed by an average of 41 minutes at one point. Later, LaGuardia released a statement saying, ‘Due to staffing shortages at FAA air traffic control centers along the East Coast, there are major delays at LGA’.”
At about 9:00 a.m EST on Friday, the FAA suspended air arrivals into LaGuardia altogether and issued a statement that read in part, “We have experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two facilities. We are mitigating the impact by augmenting staffing, rerouting traffic and increasing spacing between aircraft as needed.”
Air traffic controllers are among the 500,000 federal employees who have been obliged to work without pay for the previous 35 days. 300,000 others were furloughed also without pay. Many of these workers, who have now missed two paychecks, were unable to work because of the stress and fatigue of second and third jobs they have been forced to take to make ends meet.
Flights were significantly delayed at Orlando, Florida and Newark, New Jersey and Boston. While the traffic ban at LaGuardia, known as a ground stop, was lifted after an hour and half, long delays for remained for travelers at the airport already overburdened by the general decay of transportation infrastructure in New…