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Some flight delays reported as FAA furloughs begin

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:14 a.m. HST, Apr 22, 2013

Commercial airline flights moved smoothly throughout most of the country Sunday, the first day air traffic controllers were subject to furloughs resulting from government spending cuts, though some delays appeared in the late evening in and around New York. And even though the nightmarish flight delays and cancellations that the airline industry predicted would result from the furloughs did not materialize yet, the real test will come Monday, when traffic ramps up.

Information from the FAA and others showed that flying Sunday was largely uneventful, with most flights on time. There were delays in parts of Florida, but those were caused by thunderstorms.

Mark Duell at the flight tracking website FlightAware said that John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in New York indicated delays due to lower staffing starting late this evening. JFK averaged 70-minute delays for inbound flights, but no detectable departure delays. LaGuardia averaged 74-minute delays for inbound flights, and departure delays of 37 minutes.

The FAA website said that flights from Philadelphia and Orlando, Fla., into John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Westchester County airports were delayed due to staffing issues.

The trade group Airlines for America, which represents the airlines and had predicted a big traffic snarl, said Sunday evening that it was "not seeing a significant impact at this point." A spokeswoman said the group would continue to monitor the situation, and urged flyers to stay in contact with their airlines.

The FAA said that "relatively good weather" and light traffic, which is typical of Sundays, helped keep delays in check. The agency said it would be working with airlines "to minimize the delay impacts of lower staffing" as the busy summer travel season approaches.

Government budget cuts that kicked in last month are forcing the FAA and other agencies to cut their spending. FAA officials have said they have no choice but to furlough all 47,000 agency employees, including nearly 15,000 controllers. Each employee will lose one day of work every other week. The FAA has said that planes will have to take off and land less frequently, so as not to overload the remaining controllers on duty.

Friday, airline trade groups and the country's biggest pilots union sued the FAA to try to stop the furloughs. They predicted that the furloughs would delay or cancel flights for as many as one out of every three airline passengers across the country. Airlines have also directed their customers to tell the FAA to find other ways to cut costs.

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allie wrote:
totlaly unnecessary cuts forced by a rabid, anti-American Republican Party. Sad.
on April 21,2013 | 02:27PM
serious wrote:
Get off it!!! Obama is the chief!! Can't blame Bush after five miserable years!!
on April 21,2013 | 03:39PM
MKN wrote:
@serious: There's fault on both sides and Bush has a part of the blame due to the massive overspending and tax breaks during his 8 years in office. Remember Obama started his first term with a $10 Trillion deficit. Of course he ramped it up to $16 Trillion, so he's not much better and he came up with some of the sequester terms that both sides agreed to (both Democrats and Republicans included that determined the final deal). I will say that at least there will be a slowdown of spending during his last 4 years in office since the Sequester if unchanged will last 10 years and will save some money during that time when combined with the war drawdowns for Afghanistan. Can't say things will get better anytime soon though since the Republicans will oppose anything that Obama proposes just because they don't like him.
on April 22,2013 | 05:47AM
Bumby wrote:
People habits of working in government jobs create less productivity. Anyone who worked in the private sector after many years and went to a government job always experience a shock on how things are done or let say not done to get the job done. The enviroment takes over even the most productful people. Many who are efficient and hard workers find that they need to adapt to the system and become like the crabs in the bucket is they are to maintain their sanity.
on April 21,2013 | 04:47PM
MKN wrote:
@Bumby: That may happen at some places, but at some government jobs, people can be just as productive as the private sector. On the flip side, remember that even the private sector has its share of lazy workers. I have seen it firsthand and some of these people even get promoted into management! LOL!!!
on April 22,2013 | 05:51AM
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