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Major East Coast airports are facing delays due to the government shutdown

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Staffing shortages at air traffic control centers are to blame

Travelers Return From Holiday Weekend

A staffing shortage caused by the partial government shutdown has resulted in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) halting some flights that were due to arrive at LaGuardia Airport in New York City along with other major East Coast airports.

The FAA said that a lack of staff at two air traffic control facilities in New York and Florida has caused it to make adjustments to flight scheduling and routes, resulting in widespread 60-90 minute delays at airports like LaGuardia, Newark, and Philadelphia.

“We have experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two facilities. We’ve mitigated the impact by augmenting staffing, rerouting traffic, and increasing spacing between aircraft when needed,” the FAA said in a statement. “The results have been minimal impacts to efficiency while maintaining consistent levels of safety in the national airspace system.”

TSA screeners across the country, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, have been calling out of work, not showing up, or even quitting because they have been missing pay for over a month now. TSA employees make around $30,000 a year, and federal workers missed their second paycheck this week.

Within hours of the disruption, President Trump took dramatic action to end the shutdown, announcing a deal with Congressional leaders to re-open the government for three weeks and provide back pay to workers. Still, the stalemate over border funding is ongoing, and the government may lapse back into a shutdown if a deal isn’t reached before those three weeks have elapsed.

Thursday, the FAA put out a statement assuring the public that despite the continued government shutdown, the air space was safe. “The FAA continually reviews and analyzes its performance to assess its safety and efficiency,” the statement said. “We remain grateful to the air traffic controllers, technicians and inspectors for their continued professionalism and dedication to their safety mission.”

Update 2:51PM ET: Updated with news of a pending shutdown deal.