The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) delayed flights into New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, Newark’s Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport on Friday due to a lack of air traffic controllers, CNBC reports. Air traffic controllers have been working without pay due to the lengthy government shutdown.
The FAA issued a statement on Thursday, saying that the agency had not noticed “increased absenteeism and there are no operational disruptions due to staffing.” However, CBS News in Dallas reported that three air traffic controllers in the area resigned due to the lack of pay. The Air Traffic Controllers Union also told ABC on Thursday that it reached “a breaking point.”
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In addition to those air traffic controllers who are forced to quit, the remaining ones “are not operating at 100 percent,” according to Nick Daniels, president of the Fort Worth chapter of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. “They are missing things that they normally would not miss,” Daniels added. “They would come in and be laser focused on their jobs and because they are not, that is absolutely putting more risk into this system.”
The government shutdown has now stretched for 35 days — longer than any other shutdown in United States history — leaving approximately 800,000 federal employees without pay. Of those workers, 420,000 are considered “essential,” including air traffic controllers, for the country to operate and have continued to work during this time.