FAA furloughs could cause delays at Hartsfield-Jackson - CBS46 News

FAA furloughs could cause delays at Hartsfield-Jackson

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The FAA's mandatory furloughs kicked in Sunday because of federal budget cuts, and Atlanta's airport could be among the first to feel the effects.

A few delays were reported Sunday and early Monday. The delays were not major, but some airline passengers feared that since Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest in the world, it will be hardest hit.

The Federal Aviation Administration is requiring that each of its 47,000 employees - 15,000 of them air traffic controllers - to take a day off without pay every other week. Fewer people directing take-offs and landings means fewer planes coming in and out of airports nationwide.

"You cut back on people and something else has to give," said passenger Jon Rowley.

"You're messing with our lives here," said passenger Jerry Heying. "You're causing inconvenience here. It's mismanagement here. It's poor management."

But not everybody was upset. Jan Gates said she'd rather wait longer than to be put in danger by an understaffed tower.

"I've got two books and some knitting so I'll be able to amuse myself for the day," Gates said. "As long as I get home in one piece and everybody else does, that's fine with me."

The FAA estimates the average delay to be about 11 minutes per flight, but in Atlanta, the wait time could be much higher.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is encouraging people to go to its website, www.atlanta-airport.com, to check the status of flights.

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