Flights to LaGuardia delayed due to air traffic control staff shortage

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(UPDATE 11:49 a.m.):  The Federal Aviation Administration delayed some flights at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport on Friday morning as air traffic control grappled with a staff shortage issue amid the continuing government shutdown.

The agency said that flights are being delayed almost 90 minutes, and urged travelers to check its website to see if they are affected.

Other airports in the Northeast, including the Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and the Philadelphia International Airport, were also hit with delays, according to FlightAware. Departure delays at Newark Airport range between 30 and 44 minutes due to staffing issues, the Houston-based flight tracking company said on its website.

“We have experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two air traffic control facilities affecting New York and Florida,” the FAA said in a statement. “As with severe storms, we will adjust operations to a safe rate to match available controller resources. We’ve mitigated the impact by augmenting staffing, rerouting traffic, and increasing spacing between aircraft as needed. The results have been minimal impacts to efficiency while maintaining consistent levels of safety in the national airspace system.”

Calls by NBC News to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association were not immediately returned.

“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,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

The news comes as the partial government shutdown — now the longest in U.S. history — entered day 35.

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The FAA says it is halting flights into New York’s LaGuardia airport due to air traffic control staffing issues.

The stop was ordered shortly before 10:00 a.m. Some arriving flights are also being delayed. The government shutdown has entered its 35th day, the longest federal shutdown over.

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