The consequences of the budget freeze in the US are becoming increasingly apparent in air traffic. On Friday morning, the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) at New York’s LaGuardia Airport has temporarily halted landings. The flight control centers near Washington and Florida would lack the necessary staff, the FAA said. An increasing number of employees report sick.
As in other state institutions, employees have not been paid for 35 days due to the shutdown. At 10:45 am, landings were re-authorized at LaGuardia Airport, according to Reuters. According to the FAA, however, passengers should expect delays of around 90 minutes.
“We are trying to mitigate the impact by adding staff, redirecting traffic and increasing the distance between aircraft,” the agency said. Previously, she announced that lack of staff in the pilotage would also delay Newark and Philadelphia airports at Newark.
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.
.@realDonaldTrump, stop endangering the safety, security and well-being of our nation. Re-open government now!
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) 25 January 2019
Just recently, the unions of air traffic controllers, pilots and flight attendants in the US had warned of the consequences of the shutdown. There are so few pilots in the service as for 30 years not. “We can neither calculate the risk nor predict at what point the system will collapse,” it said in an open letter reported by the Guardian and the New York Times.
On Thursday, the US Senate had rejected two requests calling for the shutdown to end. The budget freeze “has already pushed hundreds of thousands of Americans to their limits,” said US House of Representatives spokeswoman Democrat Nancy Pelosi on Twitter this Friday, and now it’s aviation. Trump should stop “jeopardizing the security and well-being of our nation.”
In recent days , travelers have already been warned that they should adjust to longer waiting times at the airports. So far, this has been related to security controls, as many employees of the TSA are no longer on duty. So far, the waiting times were still usually in the normal range of up to 30 minutes.
Even the largest US airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways, said that the consequences of the shutdown on their business were still limited. But that could change soon. “Nobody can predict the consequences if he [shutdown] lasts,” said Southwest boss Gary Kelly on Thursday.