FAA furloughs staff: Sequest-Air has landed, and flights are late
The FAA has warned for some time that the impact of the 'sequester' on its staffing would be felt by air travelers. On Sunday, flight delays began stacking up above New York's, and other, airports.
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They are not the only ones complaining. On Sunday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to halt the furlough of air traffic controllers. He said the furloughs will cause long delays at Florida’s airports, and the state would be disproportionately affected because it has four hub airports in Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami.Skip to next paragraph
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On Monday, Governor Scott’s fears were coming true.
“There is a line north of the border of Florida, and if a flight passes through the line it will have a delay of fifty minutes until 6 p.m.,” says Mr. Duell. “Most of the planes are being held at the originating airport and then they are metering them down there.”
The airlines are also warning customers on their web sites that delays might be possible. On Monday, JetBlue cautioned travelers to plan for possible flight delays and longer than usual wait times through airport security checkpoints.
Over the weekend, Delta, on its web site, said the FAA had advised them that furlough-driven delays were most likely to occur in 10 airports. They were the three New York area airports, Philadelphia, Ft. Lauderdale, the two Chicago airports, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
On Monday, the FAA added to that list noting that it was experiencing what it termed “staffing challenges” at Fort Worth Center and Jacksonville Center as well as New York and Los Angeles. “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,” said the FAA in a statement to the Monitor.
The FAA encouraged travelers to check their flight status and also to go to its own website to check on airport delay information.
The FAA or someone may be hearing about it sooner rather than later. On Monday, one tweet from Maureen Johnson, an author of young adult fiction, said she had been told, “Your flight is late because of the government. We are mad and have started a petition.”
Emily Powers in Boston contributed to this story.
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