Orlando International braces for delays due to furloughs
By The Associated Press
The effects of furloughs for air traffic controllers in Orlando and around the country were expected Monday, a day after the airline workers were subject to the unpaid leave resulting from government spending cuts.
Few slowdowns were reported at Orlando International Airport early Monday morning. Departures were on time, but some arrivals from the Northeast were reportedly slightly behind.
The FAA said that "relatively good weather" and light traffic, which is typical of Sundays, helped keep delays in check. The agency said it would be working with airlines "to minimize the delay impacts of lower staffing" as the busy summer travel season approaches.
On Sunday, Florida Governor Rick Scott sent a letter to President Obama, saying the furloughs will have a devastating impact on Florida families by creating unnecessary delays at Florida airports. Scott said the furloughs would cause a direct economic output reduction of $19 million annually.
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 almost 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.
On Friday, airline trade groups and the country's biggest pilots union sued the FAA to try to stop the furloughs.