After 35 days of government shutdown, the FAA announced a full ground stop at Laguardia due to a lack of air traffic controllers at two major stations that coordinate planes in mid-flight.
A ground stop doesn’t mean that LaGuardia has completely shut down. There are still flights arriving and departing from the airport, but they are limiting flights severely so that the available planes are departing according to safety standards.
This comes after over a month of government shutdown. 800,000 government employees have been unpaid and 420,000 employees on vital jobs have been forced to work without pay. Many workers have called in sick, others have simply left their jobs to find work elsewhere.
The air traffic controllers union has warned that this could happen. Air traffic controlling is typically listed as one of the highest stress occupations in the country, and staffing issues in the Washington Center facility that handles high altitude traffic between the south and the northeast regions of the United States.
As this shuts down LaGuardia, air travel industry professionals have warned that will first effect airports at Newark, Tampa, Philadelphia, JFK, and will likely spread into the DC area.
This is one of the biggest and most public effects of the shutdown, which has become increasingly unpopular the longer it has gone on. Six Republican senators have gone against President Trump's shutdown yesterday, including his supporters like Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana. At this rate, it’s only a matter of time before one of the two sides give in on this battle.