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National Air Traffic Controllers Exec: Flight Disruption Caused by Strain from ‘Reckless’ Shutdown

National Air Traffic Controllers Association Vice President Trish Gilbert gave an interview on Friday where she said flight delays are happening around the country because the Federal Aviation Administration is being pushed to the breaking point by the government shutdown.

Gilbert spoke to CNN in order to address the news that air traffic is delayed at LaGuardia, Philadelphia, and Newark Airports due to staff shortages at the FAA’s regional air traffic control center. When asked if the slowdown is a direct result of the shutdown, she said it “absolutely” was because “you cannot continue to operate a system this complex for this long without the support structure of the people that are furloughed.”

Gilbert continued to explain that “the system is too strained” because of the shutdown’s impact on staff capacity, especially since air traffic control is a stressful, high-pressure job on normal days.

“The shutdown has been on way too long,” Gilbert said. “These people need to focus on their job and they need to get rest and staffing in their facilities. This is unreasonable.”

Gilbert concluded by warning the shutdown will have a ripple effect by “exacerbating an already strained system with regard to staffing,” which could force a lot of people to make tough choices that will impact the industry’s future.

“You can’t mess with a system that is so integral to the United States. This is reckless what has been going on with the shutdown.”

Watch above, via CNN.

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