Flight delays pile up after FAA budget cuts

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(AP)

NEW YORK (AP)

Up and down the East Coast, airports are reporting flight delays. This is the first weekday on which thousands of air traffic controllers are being forced to take an unpaid day off because of federal budget cuts.

Some flights into New York, Baltimore and Washington are seeing delays of more than two hours.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been keeping some planes on the ground because there weren’t enough controllers to monitor the busy air corridors.

The controller cuts — a 10 percent reduction of the staff — went into effect yesterday, but the full force wasn’t felt until this morning. Monday is typically one of the busiest days at airports.

At New York’s LaGuardia Airport, one out of every five flights scheduled to take off before noon today was delayed 15 minutes or more, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. The situation was similar at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, as well as in Newark, N.J., and in Philadelphia.

The furloughs are part of the mandatory budget cuts that kicked in on March 1 after lawmakers missed a deadline to agree on a long-term deficit reduction plan.

FAA officials have said they have no choice but to furlough all of the 47,000 agency employees, including nearly 15,000 controllers. Each employee loses one day of work every other week.

(Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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