April 22, 2013 at 2:23 PM ET
The Federal Aviation Administration warned on Monday that air travelers should expect "wide-ranging delays" because of staffing cuts at air-traffic control facilities, and the agency is using traffic management plans at airports around the country to address the problem.
The delays "will change throughout the day depending on staffing and weather," the agency said in a statement.
"Staffing challenges" exist at facilities controlling airports in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and Jacksonville, Florida, the agency said. Because of budget cuts, there are fewer air traffic controllers, and planes must fly farther apart, causing delays for passengers, the FAA said.
"The FAA is working with the airlines throughout the day to try and minimize delays for travelers," it said, adding that travelers should ask airlines and visit fly.faa.gov for information on delays.
The delays come as the FAA furloughs its 47,000 employees, including nearly 13,000 air traffic controllers who manage the nation's airspace.
The furloughs are set to last through September, the end of the U.S. fiscal year, and are expected to save about $200 million of the $637 million the agency must cut from its $16 billion budget, the FAA said last week.
Paul Rinaldi, president of the Air Traffic Controllers Association, said about 1,200 to 1,500 controllers will be staying home each day, on average, and that some airports might be able to shift staffing to reduce the effect of the furloughs. U.S. airports handle about 25,000 flights a day, he said.
Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters.