Flight Delay Concerns at SFO Amid FAA Budget Cuts

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Christie Smith
    FILE ART - Lines at SFO

    Despite problems in Los Angeles and worries over the fallout of nationwide airport furloughs, there were no immediate red flags at San Francisco International Airport on Monday.

    That was a relief to SFO travelers, who, unlike their counterparts in Southern California, spent Sunday in hours-long lines waiting for flights to take off and land. Many passengers at LAX had to wait three hours for flights because of budget-cut-imposed airport furloughs across the country because of sequestration.

    Luckily, at LAX, most flights were on time on Monday, according to arrival and departure boards before dawn Monday morning, and the FAA's flight tracker reported LAX seeing delays of 15 minutes or less. Some flights, however, had been canceled.

    But many passengers had spent the night in terminals at Los Angeles International Airport, and some were told they wouldn't be departing for hours.

    "We basically slept on the floor all night," said traveler Karen Harris. "People had no hotel rooms. If it had been planned out and they had kept us informed, it could have been handled a lot better."

    The effects were being felt after delays of up to three hours on Sunday, when LAX saw close to 70 percent of flights behind schedule. Orange County's John Wayne Airport saw some 80 percent of flights late on Sunday.

    Passengers at airports around the country were waiting to see whether the problems at LAX on Sunday would spread to airports in other cities.

    The delays are being blamed on federal furloughs of air traffic controllers after the Federal Aviation Administration slashed more than $600 million from its budget, which the agency said forced it to subject most of its 47,000 employees, including air traffic controllers, to periodic furloughs and to close air traffic facilities at small airports with lighter traffic.

    Budget cuts that kicked in last month forced the FAA to give controllers extra days off. The agency says planes will have to take off and land less frequently to avoid overloading the remaining controllers.

    The Federal Aviation administration said on its website late Sunday that cuts are causing delays averaging more than three hours for flights arriving LAX.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.