Sequester cuts at air traffic control towers cause delays - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Sequester cuts at air traffic control towers begin to cause delays


Across the country, many flyers are becoming frustrated as airport delays are starting to mount as a result of air traffic controllers being forced to take days off due to federal spending cuts.

So far, things appear to be running smoothly at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, but passengers waiting to depart from airports in cities such as New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles could be waiting for a long time.

The Federal Aviation Administration is forcing its 15,000 air traffic controllers to take time off.

Here's how the federal spending cuts will work: Each controller must take 11 days off by September and lose a day of work every other week.

That means 10 percent of the nation's air traffic controllers, 1,500, could be off and out of the control tower on any given day.

To avoid overloading the remaining staff, that means planes are taking off and landing less frequently - and that's where the delays come in to play.

On the first full day of cuts, many of the delays were short, basically 20-30 minutes, but the concern is that travelers at major airports could eventually see delays that last hours.

And just the thought of that is not sitting well with flyers.

Rocco Lapaire, who works for a cruise ship, flies four times a month.

"It affects my career if the ship is no longer in the same location," he said.

The furloughs and the delays are expected to go through the busy summer travel season, and here in Connecticut, Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Congress needs to act.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.