The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Friday morning that a staffing shortage at New York's LaGuardia airport was delaying flights, before later confirming that they were officially halting flights into the airport. As Bloomberg reported in their ongoing government shutdown coverage, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had already sent Donald Trump a letter in the hopes of calling an end to the shutdown for the sake of security at airports across the country.
Following the announcement that FAA was halting all flights into LaGuardia, JetBlue's shares started to drop. The FAA has said that the shutdown is pushing everyone in U.S. aviation to "tipping point." Wait times at airports have reportedly been around twice the normal length. Since government sector workers are currently unpaid while the shutdown continues, it's starting to have a major impact on airports in particular.
BuzzFeed News reporter David Mack attempted to confirm the news on Twitter, calling up the regional FAA office. Upon calling, he was told that the majority of staff are currently on leave of absence.
Speaking about the current situation, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the Air Line Pilots Association, and the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said in a joint statement, "It is unprecedented. [...] This is already the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States and there is no end in sight. 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."
The groups are hoping this will put continued pressure on Donald Trump to resolve the ongoing government shutdown. "To avoid disruption to our aviation system, we urge Congress and the White House to take all necessary steps to end this shutdown immediately," they added.