Flights into New York's Laguardia halted amid shutdown staff shortage

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In the case of air traffic control, about 60 other countries have de-politicized air traffic control, removing this vital function from the government budget by setting it up as a self-supporting corporate entity-generally either a government corporation or a nonprofit, private corporation.

Air traffic was delayed and flights were halted for a time at some major East Coast airports Friday morning due to shutdown-related staffing shortages, the FAA said.

Air traffic controllers, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents, transportation security and law enforcement officers, safety inspectors, air marshals and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have all been caught up in the shutdown, leaving airports understaffed and raising questions about the current safety of the nation's aviation system, according to the joint statement from National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Paul Rinaldi, Air Line Pilots Association President Joe DePete and Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson. "In our risk averse industry, we can not even calculate the level of risk now at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break", the statement notes, citing security checkpoint closures at airports, a drop in the number of cybersecurity workers and safety inspectors on the job, and analysts' weakened ability to assess risks.

"They are not operating at 100 percent and that they are missing things that they normally would not miss", said Daniels.

"If we have less controllers, that means less capacity to the system".

Yet there was no sign of progress toward ending the shutdown on Thursday.

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The result, he warned, will be to "work less airplanes to make sure it is safe".

Deep divisions in Congress appeared likely to kill two pieces of spending legislation which aim to put the bureaucracy back to work, five weeks after 800,000 were placed on unpaid furloughs.

"Safety inspectors and federal cyber security staff are not back on the job at pre-shutdown levels, and those not on furlough are working without pay", the unions wrote. Transportation Security Agency (TSA) employees are also working overtime without pay, and many have called in sick during the shutdown so that they can work other jobs.

TSA said Thursday that it is experiencing 7.5 per cent unscheduled absences, compared to a normal three per cent rate. TSA employees at airports have been calling out sick in protest, with 10 percent of scheduled workers missing shifts last Sunday.

"No one will get out of this unscathed if we do not stop this shutdown, she added".

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