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WTSP-Channel 10 in Tampa reported, "According to CBS News, there is a ground stop at LaGuardia and delays at Newark, Philadelphia and Tampa due to staff shortages at air traffic control centers in Washington and Jacksonville that regulate planes flying at higher altitudes between airports".

Flights into three USA airports are being delayed due to staffing issues in air traffic control, the Federal Aviation Administration has said.

The restrictions at LaGuardia were causing ripple effects at other airports with delays reported at Newark's Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport.

"We are starting to see the breakdown of the system as a result of the shutdown", said one air traffic controller, who was not authorized to speak to the media.

Flights that have already departed for New York City and Florida will land, but flights that have yet to take off are being cancelled and delayed en masse. There were also gate hold and taxi delays between 15 minutes and 29 minutes in length at the airport.

The union heads called it "unconscionable" that their members were being forced to work for no pay "in an air safety environment that is deteriorating by the day".

Indeed, such a walkout has happened before: In 1981, nearly 13,000 air-traffic controllers picketed after talks between the union and the Federal Aviation Administration broke down.

A bill that would have re-opened the government and provided money for President Donald Trump's border wall failed in the US Senate Thursday.

The FAA also has frozen its hiring and training for new air traffic controllers, which the unions say will create a hiccup in staffing when the government finally reopens. They would normally would be paid on Friday, but won't be because of the shutdown.

On Day 33 of this senseless #shutdown @ALPAPresident Capt. Joe DePete, #NATCA Pres @PaulRinaldi & @afa_cwa's @FlyingWithSara Nelson issued a joint statement that details growing safety concerns in the USA #aviation system caused by the shutdown. "Many controllers have reached the breaking point of exhaustion, stress, and worry caused by this shutdown. We are in regular contact with officials at the Dept. of Transportation and the FAA". "Each hour that goes by that the shutdown continues makes the situation worse".

As many as 800,000 federal workers are currently facing a second missed paycheck because of the partial US government shutdown, now the longest in USA history. "We were already short-handed in all areas".

In a statement, a United Airlines spokesman said the carrier was working with the FAA and airports to minimize the impact on flights and travelers. Controllers prioritize safety, they said, and can only handle so much traffic at one time.

"The FAA continually reviews and analyzes its performance to assess its safety and efficiency", the FAA wrote.


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