FAA furloughs go into effect tomorrow, expected to cause flight delays

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POSTED: Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 9:44pm

UPDATED: Sunday, April 21, 2013 - 3:22pm

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to furlough some 47,000 employees starting Sunday, April 21st. As a result, travelers nationwide could soon face flight delays of up to 4 hours.

The furloughs are part of forced government spending cuts, known as "sequestration" that first began in March. Of those 47,000 furloughed employees,15,000 are air traffic controllers, whose absence from work will force airports to shut down runways, causing long delays for travelers.

"I work a busy job and have a child and wait times would be, it would really interfere with things. Probably, it would decrease my travel," said Susan Engrogan.

"When you're going on a long flight, like we are, we are going all the way back to Sweden, you don't want to wait for very long of course. On the way here, we had to wait at Customs for two and a half hours just to show our passports in Chicago, so that was quite a long time," said Emma Angelin. 

The FAA says the furloughs will help them cut some $637 million from their budget. But the nation's major airlines disagree. They argue the furloughs aren't necessary and the FAA could cut elsewhere and spare travelers the headache.

On Friday, the airlines took their case to a federal court to ask that FAA furloughs be blocked, but so far, it looks like they're out of luck.

"People just need to try and be more patient while the country and Congress just kind of filters it out and kind of figures out where we need to go from where we are," said Cynthia Bautista.

The airlines are challenging the FAA and its parent agency, the Transportation Department.

They're asking the Obama administration for a 30 day delay of its furloughs so the airlines can pursue the matter with Congress.

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