MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Air traffic controllers calling-in sick nationwide because of the government shutdown affected flights at South Florida airports.READ MORE: Parkland Mom Remembers, Honors Memory Of Hero Son, Peter Wang, Who Sacrificed Self To Save Others
At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, the screens in Terminal 3 were lit up with more than a dozen delays of flights, most of them to northern cities such as New York, Boston Newark, and Providence.
Spokesmen for the Miami and Fort Lauderdale airport told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that the delays were tied to weather. But CBS4 discovered growing problems.
Manfred Schwarz of Tamarac said “My son is coming from Rochester and he is two and half hours late and that was not tied to weather. It was tied to air traffic controllers. He told me.”
At LaGuardia Airport in New York, there were delays of up to an hour and a half and for a while Friday, the airport’s departing flights were grounded.
At the airport, Emily Nipps said “I have seen a delay due to air traffic controller absences. No this is obviously something that is due to the shutdown. And that’s unusual. We hope that doesn’t continue, that we don’t see more delays.”
The F.A.A. Said it was slowing traffic in and out of airports near Washington and Jacksonville to minimize delays. Delays were also reported in Tampa Bay.READ MORE: Former BSO Employee Julio Chang Faces Charges In Capitol Attack
Union representatives for air traffic controllers had warned the government that a lengthy shutdown would affect the air traffic control system. The shutdown is nearing its 5th week.
Steve Kaplan’s flight to Newark was delayed and he said “I think it’s a terrible idea to hold these people hostage to something like the wall that is not necessary. It is an absolute crime. These air traffic controllers and others dedicate their lives to this and now they can’t pay their rents and their mortgages.”
Kaplan said he was worried about safety and he and other passengers felt the situation would only get worse.
“We are not going to be able to travel and these people will soon not work,” said Elaine Trettel.
Adria Masoner was returning to Idaho with her family and she said, “It is very frustrating to know that lawmakers are not doing everything they have to get this shutdown solved and back to normal.”
“Do you think it will get worse?” Asked D’Oench.MORE NEWS: Florida Fire Rescue Chief Fired For Not Forcing Firefighter Vaccinations
“Oh definitely,” she said. “And I am hearing of government workers who can’t pay their rent or daycare. It’s really really unfortunate.”