‘Surreal’ Air Quality Conditions Force Grounded Flights in NYC

As the devastating effects of mass wildfires in Canada continue to plague the East Coast of the United States, New York area airports are grounding and delaying flights amid air quality warnings.

The Federal Aviation Agency issued a ground stop for flights headed into New York City’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and slowed flights into New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) on Wednesday afternoon.

“The FAA has slowed traffic to and from New York City area airports due to reduced visibility from wildfire smoke,” the FAA said in a statement. “The agency will continue to adjust the volume of traffic to account for the rapidly changing conditions.”

One passenger, Kenneth DeWyngaert, 30, a risk consultant who lives in New Jersey, told Entrepreneur that he was on an inbound flight headed for LaGuardia just before 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday but was unable to touchdown.

“We’re circling and can’t land,” he said.

New York City had the worst air quality in the world at 3 p.m. Wednesday, with an air quality index (AQI) rating above 355, more than double the second worst, Delhi, India, which had a 168 AQI rating.

Hundreds took to social media to share eerie photos of a dystopian-looking sky and to vent about unforeseen travel disruptions.

As of 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, EWR was experiencing an average flight delay of 82 minutes, while LGA was experiencing an average delay of 1 hour and 7 minutes, both due to “low visibility.”

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The FAA is encouraging travelers to check for updates here.

This is a developing story.

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Gravy Smith
Gravy Smith
Gravy Smith is a mechatronic engineer who pivoted her career towards content writing, online marketing, and entrepreneurship.