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Air Controller furlougs ending, Hartsfield delays minimal

6:24 PM, Apr 26, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- There's good news for travelers who've had to deal with extra delays because of the FAA furloughs. The U.S. House of Representatives have joined the Senate in passing legislation that would put air traffic controllers back to work.

Days after the FAA sidelined flight controllers because of automatic budget cuts known as sequester, the delays at many airports around the country got longer and tempers got shorter.

Lawmakers got the message and reached across party lines to find a resolution and they voted to put money back into the FAA budget to bring the controllers back to work.

For the 250,000 passengers coming and going from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport every day on 2500 flights its basically been business as usual, with few air traffic delays since the furloughs took effect earlier this week.

But not the same thing on the West Coast and in the Northeast corridors of Washington, Philadelphia, and New York and especially Newark.

Throughout the country, air traffic delays numbered over 3,000, not counting cancelled flights.

For Elizabeth Rouse it was the second time this week she's had air traffic delays. The first was from Dallas and today it was Newark.

"They were in a rush to get us seated and he didn't mention any delays. I think they were trying to keep it from us as long as possible but after some frustrating time passed sitting on the runway, the pilot came on and said that we were about number 24 in line and it will be at least 45 minutes," she said.

For Washington passenger Dinah Wiley, waiting for a friend coming in on a delayed flight from Newark, restoring the funding to the FAA has political overtones.

"Members of Congress fly, so they are concerned about delays in the flights. They don't use the Head Start Program so they are not concerned about the cuts in Head Start or with food stamps," she said.

Controller staffing is expected to get back to full strength within the next few days but a lingering concern at Hartsfield will be arrival delays.

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