New York City area travelers, beware: It could be a rough night at the region's airports.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it doesn't have enough staff to properly manage the airspace around the city Monday, Aug. 15, and warns that major delays could result.
"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. Departure and arrival delays this evening could approach two hours at John F. Kennedy International, New York LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports," the agency said in a statement. "Passengers should prepare for delays, and monitor fly.faa.gov for updates. Please check with your airline for information about specific flights."
As of 6:20 p.m. ET, JFK, Newark Liberty International Airport and La Guardia International Airport were reporting a combined 86 delayed flights, according to FlightAware's Misery Map.
Transatlantic flights are the most likely to be affected, said Delta Air Lines spokesperson Morgan Durrant, because they typically depart later in the day.
"There will be some type of delay that manifests itself, but is it going to have some sort of ripple effect at this point in the day that affects other points in the Delta system? Not really," Durrant told USA TODAY. "What customers need to know is: make sure you've got the FlyDelta app and are logged into it so we can push updates on your flights."
He added that the airline would work with the FAA "on the finer points of departure routes" to get as many flights out on time as possible, but acknowledged that other airlines would all be competing for the same – more limited – airspace.
United Airlines also acknowledged some delays in the New York area in a statement to USA TODAY.
Nick Calio, president of industry trade group Airlines for America (A4A), wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in June expressing concern over staffing at the FAA.
"One of our A4A member carriers estimate that air traffic control (ATC) related issues were a factor in at least one-third of recent cancellations. In many instances the weather requires the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to institute Ground Delay Programs (GDP) or other traffic management initiatives that slow the ATC system for many hours," the letter said. "However, we have also observed that FAA ATC staffing challenges have led to traffic restrictions under blue sky conditions."
A4A represents most major airlines in the U.S.
USA TODAY also reached out to American Airlines and JetBlue for comment.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: New York airports delay: FAA staff availability could affect flyers