Sequester Forces FAA to Furlough Air Traffic Controllers, Expect Increasing Flight Delays
Alaska Air has become the latest airline to issue warning delays to passengers.
The ripple effect that started in the nation's largest airports has spread to the West Coast. Alaska Airlines Sunday issued travel advisories saying flights going through San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco could be delayed.
While no significant issues were reported today at these Western airports, the website FlightAware.com reported JFK and LaGuardia airports were seeing 70 minute delays for inbound flights, and up to 34 minutes for outbound.
Because of sequester cuts, the FAA claims it had no choice but to furlough it's entire 47,000 staff, including 15,000 air traffic controllers.
The effect was first felt at the busiest Eastern Seaboard facilities, but the ripple effect is expected to spread across the country. Due to the reduced number of controllers, flights will have to be spread out so the number of planes in the air will not overwhelm the FAA workers and their systems. That means more delays. Delays that start at major airports will eventually work their way back to smaller airports, such as SeaTac, Spokane and Pasco.
Alaska advises all travelers to check the status of their flights by checking a special section set up at their website. Alaska is the most heavily utilized airline in the Pacific Northwest, and offers the most flights from airports in Eastern Washington.