FAA furloughs frustrate pilots, carriers and passengers alike - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

FAA furloughs frustrate pilots, carriers and passengers alike

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The FAA furloughs kicked in on Sunday despite a lawsuit filed by two airline trade associations and the Airline Pilots Association, and it's already causing frustration for those trying to fly the friendly skies.

Some analysts estimate that the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport won't see much of an effect, but several travelers told FOX 9 News they are bracing themselves.

Federal officials say they have no choice but to furlough all 47,000 FAA employees, including 15,000 air traffic controllers, if they are going to cut more than $600 million from the agency's budget by the end of September as required by the sequester cuts. That means each employee will lose a day of work every other week.

As one might expect, fewer air traffic controllers means planes have to take off and land less often, and the furloughs could result in flight delays or cancellations for a third of passengers.

When the furloughs began on Sunday morning, Delta Airlines put the following statement on their website to voice their disappointment:

On behalf of our customers and employees, Delta is disappointed that furloughs of Federal Aviation Administration personnel will result in delays and cancellations across the national air transportation system. The FAA has advised Delta that furlough-driven delays are most likely to occur at the following 10 airports:

New York-LaGuardia
New York-JFK
Newark Liberty
Fort Lauderdale
Chicago O'Hare
Chicago Midway
San Francisco
Los Angeles (LAX)
San Diego

Delta will continue to do everything possible to mitigate these delays for our customers. As always, we encourage customers to check their flight status at delta.com or on the Fly Delta app before arriving at the airport.

Customers may contact their representatives in Congress about the FAA furloughs at www.dontgroundamerica.com

Since so many major hubs are likely to feel the impact of the furloughs, travelers in the Twin Cities are expected to feel the ripple effects. AAA recommends getting to the airport earlier than normal -- and remember to pack your patience.

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