WASHINGTON, Aug 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) said late Monday air traffic was returning
to normal after earlier warning that passengers at New York
City-area airports could see significant delays due to air
traffic control staffing issues.
The FAA had said departure and arrival delays could
"approach two hours" at John F. Kennedy (JFK), New York
LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports, but later announced that
New York City airspace had additional staffing "allowing us to
cancel the ground delays." The FAA also earlier issued https://nasstatus.faa.gov
a ground stop at LaGuardia that was lifted.
FlightAware, a flight tracking website, said about 850 total
flights at the three airports were delayed Monday, more than 20%
of flights at each airport.
A person briefed on the matter said the staffing issue was
related to sick leave. The New York City area has the most
congested airspace in the United States.
U.S. airlines have blamed a significant part of the summer
travel disruptions, which have impacted tens of thousands of
flights, on a lack of air traffic control staffing. In June, an
airline trade group said FAA staffing issues were "crippling"
East Coast traffic.
Rich Santa, who heads the National Air Traffic Controllers
Association, said in July the FAA needs to do a better job of
ensuring adequate staffing to oversee national airspace.
Santa said "unfortunately, FAA staffing is not keeping up
Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen told Reuters in July
the FAA was "on track to hire 1,000 controllers this year." For
1,500 open positions, the FAA accepted 57,956 applications for
Air traffic controllers work in control towers, approach
control facilities, or route centers, and are essential for
coordinating aircraft traffic between the nation's airports.
The FAA said last month "airlines data show that the vast
majority of delays are not due to air traffic controller
On Friday, the FAA gave Delta Air Lines permission
to temporarily cancel flights at JFK, LaGuardia and Reagan
National in Washington after the airline cited issues New York
airport construction, crew sick time, severe weather and air
traffic control delays and cancellations.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Sam Holmes and