FAA furloughs begin, some flight delays appear


A handful of flights were canceled Monday at the Indianapolis International Airport. The cancelations followed the FAA furloughs linked to government spending cuts.

Airport managers would not confirm if staffing cuts played a direct part in the delays, but the FAA warned of potential problems for outbound flights in New York, Las Vegas, Chicago and Orlando.
The agency said it would be working with airlines "to minimize the delay impacts of lower staffing" as the busy summer travel season approaches.

Government budget cuts that kicked in last month are forcing the FAA and other agencies to cut their spending. FAA officials have said they have no choice but to furlough all 47,000 agency employees, including nearly 15,000 controllers. Each employee will lose one day of work every other week. The FAA has said that planes will have to take off and land less frequently, so as not to overload the remaining controllers on duty.

Air traffic controller Victor Santore said that staffing changes and delays go hand in hand.

"It's like equating to tollbooths. If you have 10 tollbooths and you only open eight, you're going to have delays," Santore said.

Most flights leaving Indianapolis were delayed about an hour behind schedule.  Passengers were advised to check with their airlines to confirm flight times.

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