A seagull flies in front of the lower Manhattan skyline during thick smog in New York on June 6, 2023.

Ed Jones | AFP | Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday grounded flights to New York’s LaGuardia Airport as smoke from wildfires in Canada cut off visibility in the area.

“The FAA has taken steps to manage traffic flow into the New York City area due to reduced visibility from wildfire smoke,” the agency said in a statement. “Flights to LaGuardia International Airport have been temporarily grounded. Flights to Newark Liberty International Airport have been slowed.”

The FAA said Newark flights were delayed about an hour and a half.

Smoke drifting south from wildfires in Canada blanketed the New York City area from Tuesday to Wednesday, polluting air quality and driving residents indoors. As of Wednesday afternoon, the city had the fourth-worst air quality in the world, at IQAir World Air Quality Index of 158, a level considered unhealthy for the entire population.

The initial ground station at LaGuardia is in place until at least 2 p.m. ET.

As of 1:40 p.m. ET, more than 1,400 US flights were delayed, according to the flight-tracking website. FlightAware.

A Delta Airlines spokesperson told CNBC that the company has protective equipment for employees.

“And for those who work on the runway, we let them come indoors where restrooms are located between aircraft turns,” the spokesperson said. “We are also monitoring the forecast which calls for rain in New York City in the coming days which will improve air quality.”

— CNBC’s Emma Neuberger contributed to this report.

This is breaking news. . Please check back for updates


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