Glimpse of Hope Air Traffic Control Furlough May End

US Senate Votes to End ATC Furlough


Washington National Airport

Washington National Airport in Washington, DC.

Washington, DC – April 25, 2013 ( The US Senate passed a bill which will end the air traffic control furlough. However, the bill, known as the Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013, must now proceed to the US House of Representatives. If approved in the House, the last step would be for US President Obama to sign the bill into law.

While the US House goes into session at 10:00am tomorrow, the session may not last long with a week-long vacation for the lawmakers ahead. Whether the bill will be passed this week remains a question.

The FAA furloughs have resulted in low staffing at a number of airports including New York LaGuardia (LGA), New York Kennedy (JFK), Newark Liberty (EWR), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), and Los Angeles International (LAX). Aside from airports, en-route centers in Cleveland and Washington were impacted today, resulting in delays on flights traveling east and west through their respective flight control areas.

The bill shifts unused funds for airport updates to Air Traffic Controllers.

Sequester Impact on Air Travel

The FAA cuts have resulted in chaos for many traveling across the United States over the past week. Long flight delays and flight cancellations have been the norm. It all comes down to staffing issues with less employees overseeing the national airspace. To maintain safety, ATC has had to slow arrival rates and place more space between aircraft in-flight.

However, travelers in airports are not happy.

At Washington National Airport, Michael Reynolds said, “I’ve been here for five hours with my wife trying to reach Miami for a cruise.” Reynolds added, “If we don’t make it out today, it’s possible we might miss our cruise.”

Reynolds was not the only one traveling on a deadline. Meet James O’Neil, his wife is in a San Francisco Hospital getting ready to give birth. O’Neil’s saga has included a cancelled flight and delays creating would-be missed connections. This time around, he’s hopeful to reach Chicago to make an onward connection.

Unless this is fixed soon, airline passengers will remain frustrated along with cargo shippers who use commercial aircraft to transport goods. Even UPS and FedEx are encountering problems with their daytime operations.

The longer this drags on, the more it’ll hurt the US economy. Thankfully, Congress has finally got the message.

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