Government shutdown sparks flight delays at major USA airports

Air Traffic Controllers Warn of 'Unprecedented' Safety Risk As Government Shutdown Continues

Air traffic controllers, forced to take second jobs, warn of "unprecedented" shutdown risk

About a third of incoming flights to LaGuardia were delayed as of late Friday morning, according to the FlightAware tracking service.

The agency has dispatched extra screeners to airports in Atlanta, LaGuardia Airport in NY, and Newark, New Jersey.

By just before noon, the delays in Orlando were reported at 15 minutes or less.

"I would do it all over again".

"We are less safe today", she said. "She is a sister".

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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. News4Jax was told the tower at JAX is normally staffed.

Ross, who is a multimillionaire, told CNBC television he cannot understand why a furloughed federal worker would have to turn to a food bank for help when he can simply take out a loan from a bank or credit union. He said the FAA adjusted to meet available staffing by, among other things, rerouting flights and putting more space between planes in the air.

"In our risk averse industry, we can not even calculate the level of risk now at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break", the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Air Line Pilots Association, and the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said in a joint release.

Many federal workers, including TSA officers who man airport checkpoints and air traffic controllers, have been working without pay since the shutdown began. "We find it unconscionable that aviation professionals are being asked to work without pay and in an air safety environment that is deteriorating by the day".

"I feel bad because I know them personally and I know the impacts it has had on their families".

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Rather than pinpointing specific risks, officials issued the more general warning that the lengthy shutdown is pushing an already strained system to its limits. There's also the concern that if employees find work elsewhere, they'll come to work exhausted and not mentally prepared. Bangor International Airport Director Tony Caruso said that it is hard to predict how the shutdown might eventually affect BIA, a small airport with only a handful of daily flights, but that he and his staff and the federal employees at the facility are taking it one day at a time.

To track flights, here's the flight delay map from the Air Traffic Control System Command Center on the FAA website.

The long lines greeted passengers in Atlanta again on Friday. A TSA spokesman said other airports might also be getting additional help.

Airlines reacted cautiously to Friday's disruptions, trying to avoid alarming their customers.

- Flights arriving at several airports in the Northeast were being delayed Friday morning because of air traffic control staffing issues at air traffic centers in Jacksonville, Florida and a Washington D.C. center that controls high-altitude air traffic over seven states. That said, it's hard to confirm the exact status of flights, so check with your airline and prepare to wait out delays on the tarmac and on the taxiway.

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The record-setting federal government shutdown is beginning to take its toll on the nation's airports - and Newark's is no exception.

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