Skift Take

Who will blink first on these unsustainable furloughs and airport/flight delays? Something's got to give.

Flights bound for Los Angeles are delayed again as a shortage of air-traffic controllers stretched into a fourth day because of furloughs under the U.S. government’s automatic budget cuts.

Los Angeles International, the third-busiest airport in the U.S., had 45-minute arrival delays as of 8 a.m. local time, the Federal Aviation Administration’s travel website showed. Los Angeles passengers have faced waits as long as three hours at certain times since the furloughs began on April 21.

New York-area airports, including LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy, were operating normally as of noon local time, helped by clear skies and lighter midweek volumes. Airports in the region had two-hour delays this week as winds and peak travel periods such as Monday morning compounded the controller shortages.

Executives at US Airways Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. have criticized the furloughs, saying the disruptions are unsustainable and may hurt travel demand.

The FAA said last week that delays may reach more than two hours with fewer controllers on duty because of cutbacks known as sequestration. An average of about 10 percent of controllers will be on furlough on any given day, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association estimated.

“It’s such terrible policy. It needs to stop,” US Airways Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker said yesterday on a conference call.

Editors: Ed Dufner and James Langford.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Jane Credeur in Atlanta at [email protected]. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at [email protected].


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Tags: politics, sequester

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