NEW YORK (WABC) -- Heavy smoke from wildfires in Canada turned skies into a dull haze Wednesday and impacted flights in the New York City area.
Newark, LaGuardia and JFK airports all experienced delays due to low visibility caused by smoke conditions in the region.
The FAA put a ground stop in place at LaGuardia, meaning some flights were held at their origin airport to ease congestion, but not all.
Passengers who weren't held at their origin found themselves on planes vectored around New York's busy airspace like pinballs before finally being allowed to land.
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On Wednesday afternoon, LGA arriving flights were delayed an average of two hours and departure traffic destined for Newark was delayed about 90 minutes.
More delays are likely Thursday at the region's airports.
Reporter Josh Einiger recorded the "surreal scene" as his plane landed at LaGuardia:
Another issue that could slow down airlines is the working conditions for airline employees on the tarmac.
United Airlines said, "We are monitoring the situation closely and looking out for the safety of our employees who work outside, and adjusting our schedule where needed."
Delta is providing protective equipment for tarmac staff and said, "For those who work on the tarmac, we're having them come inside to where breakrooms are in between aircraft turns. We are also watching the forecasts which call for rain in NYC in the days ahead which should improve the air quality."
Health officials are urged area residents to limit outdoor activities on Wednesday as air quality was expected to remain at "unhealthy" to "very unhealthy" levels with no improvements until Thursday at the earliest.
The smoke has made for potentially dangerous conditions, especially for people with respiratory issues. Exposure to elevated fine particle pollution levels can affect the lungs and heart.
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