FAA Furloughs Could Mean Major Airport Delays

True impact will likely be seen at the start of the workweek, with average delays of 50 minutes possible

Monday, Apr 22, 2013  |  Updated 1:16 PM EDT
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A day after furloughs kicked in for Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers, travelers are bracing themselves for possible delays.

Megan McGrath

A day after furloughs kicked in for Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers, travelers are bracing themselves for possible delays.

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FAA Furloughs Could Mean Major Airport Delays

A day after furloughs kicked in for FAA air traffic controllers, travelers are bracing themselves for possible delays.
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A day after furloughs kicked in for Federal Aviation Administration employees, travelers braced themselves for possible delays.

Most travelers weren't seeing anything out of the ordinary around 6 a.m. Monday at Reagan National Airport, but that was expected to change as the day goes on, reported News4's Megan McGrath -- and by 11 a.m., those effects were being noticed.

"Well, we had a flight scheduled this morning for 9:15, and then I got several calls and several emails saying that it was delayed, delayed, so here we are and we really don't know," said one would-be traveler.

The cuts -- part of the sequestration cuts -- could mean longer waits for at airports across the country. Air traffic controllers are scheduled to stay home one day per pay period, once every two weeks, and fewer controllers could translate into flight delays.

The true impact will likely be seen at the start of the workweek, with average delays of 50 minutes possible. That could be even longer in some of the busiest airports.

As you might imagine, many people in National Airport Monday morning said they're not too excited about the prospect.

"I think it's going to be a problem for us," said one traveler. "Especially during the busy times, first thing in the morning, everybody trying to get on a plane.... This is something that we want to run smoothly, and it's probably not going to."

Another traveler said, "We face enough delays as it is, so it's an inconvenience for both; the furlough of course affects everybody's pay and everything, so it's not good."

There were some reports Sunday night of 70-minute delays at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, and similar situations at LaGuardia and Los Angeles. Alaska Airlines sent out a message to their customers warning them of potential delays.

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