While some airline passengers endured long delays at a few East Coast airports Monday, most of the nation’s flights departed without significant problems on the first work day after budget cuts hit federal air traffic controllers.
Beginning on Sunday, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered air traffic controllers to take one furlough day for every two-week pay period to cut about $600 million from its budget.
Agency officials warned that the cuts would force the FAA to delay arrivals and departures to manage the flow of air traffic. But the agency reported that light traffic and good weather minimized the delays Monday.
Still, the FAA reported average delays of up to 3 hours and 7 minutes for a period Sunday evening. Several websites that monitor air traffic said the nation’s air traffic system operated normally.
On Sunday, the nation’s airports reported 4,843 flights that were delayed more than 15 minutes, compared with an average of 5,884 per day over the past 30 days, according to the website Flightstats.com.
On Monday, Los Angeles International Airport issued a statement, saying the airport was not experiencing major problems.
“As of this morning, we are experiencing a flow rate of 68 flights per hour, arrivals and departures. That is not an abnormally low rate for LAX,” airport officials said.
Another airline monitoring site, Flightaware.com, reported long delays Monday morning in New York’s LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy international airports primarily due to weather and Tarmac maintenance. But delays attributed to air traffic controller furloughs were reported at several airports in Florida, including Miami International and Orlando International airports.
Here’s some reaction from the Twittersphere:
@latta Thanks to sequester, circled LAX for almost an hour. — Susan Orlean (@susanorlean) April 22, 2013
@joshtpm Delayed flight from EWR to LAX last night. Circled in the Rockies. Flight attendants and pilot very vocal about “sequester thing” — DJ Jacobs (@jumpshotjake) April 22, 2013
My flight was 2hrs late. Pilot said that due to sequester, LAX air control handles 25 planes/hr instead of 65. TSA still looks dandy though. — stan klimoff (@graven) April 22, 2013
Enjoying the effects of the sequester.Flying out from SBA to LAX to JFK.All on today’s list of problem airports.... Doh... — Tracey Larvenz (@tlarvenz) April 22, 2013
Seems like business as usual at United. Almost all departing flights are on time. #LAX twitter.com/AdolfoFlores3/… — Adolfo Flores (@AdolfoFlores3) April 22, 2013