us news FAA staffing issues trigger New York flight delays

(CNN) — The Federal Aviation Administration says flights in and out of New York City area airports could be delayed up to two hours Monday night because of a shortage of air traffic controllers.

"Due to the availability of staff tonight, the FAA must reduce the flow of aircraft in certain airspace serving New York City to maintain safety," the FAA said in a statement.

"Departure and arrival delays this evening could approach two hours at John F. Kennedy International, New York LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports."

A publicly available FAA advisory shows staffing issues at the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center, an air traffic control facility located 50 miles east of Manhattan on Long Island. The FAA advisory says delays are anticipated from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.

Airlines have pointed at air traffic controller staffing issues as a reason for massive flight cancellations this summer, though the FAA asserts that most delays are because of the airlines.

According to data from flight tracking site FlightAware, 48,000 US flights were canceled between May 27, the Friday before Memorial Day, and August 14. That figure represents 2.3% of the flights scheduled.

Nearly 483,000 US flights were delayed during that period, or about 24% of flights.

Bad weather has compounded other operational challenges this summer.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a CNN interview last week that while weather disrupted a recent weekend's air traffic,"it shouldn't have created the kind of ripple effects through the system that it did.

"That is something that to me is an indication that we still have not seen the improvements that we need, that the system is very brittle," Buttigieg said last week on CNN's New Day.

Top image: Travelers wait for flights at LaGuardia

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