On the morning of January 25, Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration effectively closed LaGuardia Airport in New York City due to staff shortages — people, in particular air traffic controllers, were calling in sick and there were not enough still working to ensure traveler safety.
Due to a budget dispute, the U.S. government had been on a (partial) shutdown for more than a month. Air traffic controllers, who are federal employees, were expected to continue to work, but weren’t receiving pay. Some controllers were of necessity taking other jobs on their off hours, but this simply raised concerns that they weren’t getting enough sleep, and so they could not safely perform their high-stress task.
The Thing to Know:
Later Friday, in an announcement in the Rose Garden at the White House, President Trump said that he had agreed to a budget bill that would end the shut-down. By then the LaGuardia closing, though it lasted only an hour, had had cascading effects on flights throughout the northeast. Many see the LaGuardia incident as having been the ‘last straw’ forcing the administration to agree to re-opening the government even in the absence of any “Wall Money” in the budget.