LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — You can expect more flight delays in the coming days, as the first round of FAA furloughs kicks in.
The FAA began the furloughs on Sunday as part of government-wide spending cuts that took effect in March due to inaction by Congress on a plan to cut the deficit.
Those budget cuts have forced the FAA to furlough 47,000 employees, including 13,000 air traffic controllers.
Air traffic controllers will have to take one to two furlough days for every two-week pay period.
According to the FAA, the furloughs are set to last through September.
FAA Statement from Monday:
“As a result of employee furloughs due to sequestration, the FAA is implementing traffic management initiatives at airports and facilities around the country. Travelers can expect to see a wide range of delays that will change throughout the day depending on staffing and weather related issues. For example, the FAA is experiencing staffing challenges at New York Center and TRACON, Fort Worth Center, Jacksonville Center and Los Angeles Center. Controllers will space planes farther apart so they can manage traffic with current staff, which will lead to delays at airports including New York’s La Guardia Airport. The FAA is working with the airlines throughout the day to try to minimize delays for travelers. We encourage all travelers to check their flight status and also to visit fly.faa.gov for the latest airport delay information.
They’re expected to save about $200 million of the $637 million that the agency is being forced to cut from its budget.
Many travelers at LAX expressed concern and frustration over the cuts.
“We’re not paying enough taxes for, God knows what, they’re gonna cut out things that affect us,” passenger Diana Batres said.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about safety, but we’ve gotta learn how to be more fiscally responsible,” another traveler, Daniel Skubal, remarked.
When it comes to safety, the FAA says it will not make any cuts at all. They say this is just a matter of convenience for many travelers.
According to numerous sources, the FAA anticipates the furloughs to affect as many as 6,700 flights nationwide.
The FAA says that the worst case scenario is to expect three and a half hour delays.
Airline executives have asked the government to consider other options, like cutting down on the FAA’s maintenance budget instead.
A major pilot’s association and a top airline group have filed suit against the government to try to stop the furloughs.
However, a court of appeals isn’t expected to respond until later this week.