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.
My flight from Florida just landed through the smoke at LGA, after being delayed 25 minutes. It’s surreal. There is just a orange haze here at the ground. While in the air, I smelled the smoke from inside the plane.
— Miguel Pierre (@mpierre19) June 7, 2023
This is absolutely insane.
Right now the air quality in NYC is the worst since the 1960’s.
Visibility is getting worse and the entire city smells like a camp fire. pic.twitter.com/YnqsMJx8OD
— Ryan Field (@RyanFieldABC) June 7, 2023
Check your flights!
EWR has serious delays & LGA is on a ground stop due to smoke (low visibility).
That will ripple across the system in cascading delays. Possibly some cancellations later. pic.twitter.com/ShBQRg6ktO
— KC-10 Driver ✈️ ?✈️ B-737 Wrangler (@MCCCANM) June 7, 2023
Not the Newark Airport looking like the apocalypse is happening at 1pm in the afternoon pic.twitter.com/aCeL1s81fr
— ✨ King of Stress ✨ (@LoganMaverickIv) June 7, 2023
Plane landing at Newark Airport at about 1:48pm EDT today. They called a ground stop right after I took this, and this plane might have been the last one in. pic.twitter.com/lbEVeyqR7U
— Andrew Martin (@drybrarian) June 7, 2023
A real joy to be experiencing my own NY smoke journey at Newark airport pic.twitter.com/CTtVi76QXh
— Daniel Susser (@internetdaniel) June 7, 2023
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.”
The FAA is encouraging travelers to check for updates here.
This is a developing story.