, NEW YORK, Apr 22 – Some US airports were on Monday experiencing significant flight delays in the wake of US Federal Aviation Administration furloughs due to federal budget cuts that are forcing staffing cutbacks.
In addition to some wind-related delays, New York’s La Guardia airport was experiencing “general departure delays” of 60-75 minutes, while Newark, New Jersey’s airport was experiencing delays of 46-60 minutes, according to the FAA’s website.
The delays began over the weekend after the FAA began instituting furloughs for workers, including air traffic control staff, on Sunday related to the budget cuts.
Hold-ups averaged more than three hours Sunday night at Los Angeles International Airport.
“The FAA will be working with the airlines and using a comprehensive set of air traffic management tools to minimize the delay impacts of lower staffing as we move into the busy summer travel season,” the agency said in a statement.
An American Airlines spokeswoman said Newark was one of five airports “most likely” to be affected by the sequestration cuts, while La Guardia was one of four airports that “could potentially be affected” by the cuts.
On Friday three airline groups said they would petition the Federal appeals court in Washington to block sequester cuts by the FAA and the Department of Transportation “to protect the rights of the travelling public.”
“The Regional Airline Association, Airlines for America and the Air Line Pilots Association warned of “significant chaos” that could take place due to the furloughs of airport and other personnel.
“Our entire aviation system will struggle to maintain normality due to furloughs of these essential workers. The economic viability of our country depends on this mode of transportation; everyone will be affected,” said ALPA president Lee Moak.