United States

Travelers Beware: Long Delays at Philadelphia International Airport, FAA Says

Flight delay information provided by the FAA warned that these delays could increase throughout the day.

What to Know

  • A ground stop has been ordered at LaGuardia Airport due to staffing related issues, the Federal Aviation Administration said Friday
  • It comes on the 35th day of the government shutdown, the longest closure of federal agencies in U.S. history
  • Friday also marks the second missed paycheck for 800,000 federal workers who are furloughed or working without pay

Travelers beware. Staffing issues at airports on the East Coast are creating a ripple effect in Philadelphia.

Delays of up to one hour affected flights at Philadelphia International Airport Friday morning, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

This could change throughout the day, however, because Philadelphia airspace is monitored by crews both in New York and D.C. Passengers should check the FAA website for updates.

Philadelphia's airport felt the crunch after a ground stop was ordered at LaGuardia Airport in New York because of a staffing shortage related to sick calls, the FAA said. 

That ground stop has been lifted but delays remain. 

"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," the statement continued. 

The air traffic halt comes as the government shutdown enters its 35th day, the longest shutdown of federal agencies in U.S. history. Friday also marks the second missed paycheck for 800,000 federal workers who are furloughed or working without pay.

Unions that represent air traffic controllers, flight attendants and pilots are growing concerned about safety and security of its members and passengers with the shutdown well into its fifth week. 

The presidents of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Air Line Pilots Association and Association of Flight Attendants cautioned in a join statement that the airline industry "cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented." 

The White House issued a brief statement Friday morning. 

“The President has been briefed and we are monitoring the ongoing delays at some airports," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. "We are in regular contact with officials at the Department of Transportation and the FAA.”

Federal workers say going without pay is grinding them down, and they're not sure how much longer they can take it. 

"At work, the morale is really low," said Tyler Kennard, an air traffic controller in San Diego. "It's actually more stressful now with this government shutdown than it was when I was in a war zone in Iraq doing the same job." 

The retired Marine, who got his start in air traffic control in 2005 when he was based at Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton, told NBC San Diego that he and his wife are worried about how they will pay for gas, the mortgage, their daughter's braces and their 4-year-old son Tucker's hospital visits. 

During his nearly decade and a half in the profession, he has been through three other government shutdowns but this is the first time he's missed a paycheck. 

"This is the one that’s hit us the hardest 'cause this is the first time where it’s gone where we haven’t got paid," Kennard said.

Two Senate votes to reopen the government failed on Thursday. 

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