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Furloughs of air traffic control staff to delay flights

April 19, 2013|By Hugo Martin
  • The FAA plans to close some air traffic control towers in June as it aims to cut $600 million from its budget, the result of automatic spending cuts that kicked in March 1.
The FAA plans to close some air traffic control towers in June as it aims to… (Justin Sullivan / Getty…)

Expect delays in air travel of up to an hour starting this weekend because of federal budget cuts that are forcing the furlough of air traffic controllers, federal officials warn.

The budget cuts, brought about by the so-called sequestration, will force the federal government to furlough air traffic controllers for about one day per two-week pay period.

At Los Angeles International Airport, the nation's third-busiest airport, delays will average about 10 minutes but could extend up to 67 minutes, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Earlier this month, the FAA delayed the closure of the control towers at 149 municipal and regional airports until June. The closures were proposed to help the FAA cut more than $600 million from its annual budget.

But FAA officials said they could not postpone the furlough of air traffic controllers.

Airlines for America, a trade group for the nation's largest airlines, blasted the plan Friday to furlough controllers, calling it "unnecessary and reckless."

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