Flights halted into New York airport due to US shutdown


Flights have been halted into New York’s LaGuardia Airport due to shortages of air traffic control staff, the US Federal Aviation Administration says.

A US government shutdown, the longest in history, has meant that controllers are currently working without pay. Flights were halted shortly before 10:00 local time (15:00 GMT).

The move comes one day after a stark warning was issued by air industry unions about the risk to public safety.

“In our risk averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break,” Air traffic, pilot and flight attendant union leaders said in a statement.

In total about 800,000 employees have been working without pay, or have been temporarily laid off, since areas of the federal government shut down due to lack of funding 35 days ago.

Trump has refused to approve any new funding agreement that does not include $5.7bn (£4.4bn) for his southern border wall. Democrats in Congress refuse to approve wall funding so the two sides are stuck at an impasse.

US media report that there have been delays to flights at several other airports. In a statement, the FAA said a “slight increase” in sick leave absences at two air traffic control facilities had led to the schedule changes – which it said was to ensure safety levels.

It has advised the public to check with individual airlines for more information. LaGuardia, which is situated in the New York city borough of Queens, is the 20th busiest in the country, according to the FAA.

About 30 million passengers use the airport every year. (BBC)


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