Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Flight Delays Today

Flight Delays Today, The sting of federal government budget cuts has made its way to America’s airports. Air traffic controllers are being sent home on unpaid leave to meet $637 million in budget-cutting targets at the Federal Aviation Administration. The result, as many expected, is more flight delays.

On Monday the FAA has blamed “staffing” issues for delays of up to an hour at some busy airports, and the problems are likely to remain for the foreseeable future. An airline industry association said last week it would seek a court order temporarily halting the staffing cuts, which it called “unjust, unnecessary and completely irresponsible..REPORTED

The court yesterday denied the emergency request for an immediate halt, but the case will go ahead, with both sides due to file documents by May 22.

As of Tuesday morning, the FAA was reporting delays of 15 minutes or less at most of the nation’s big airports, although there are lengthier waits at Newark International in New Jersey and  La Guardia in New York, where heavy winds are causing delays of up to an hour and a half.

You can see the FAA’s flight delay map here for updates. FlightStats.com also has a good map tracking delays.

The latest news, below:

- 4:15 pm From the WSJ’s Jack Nicas and Susan Carey: “The worst delays were at New York, Washington, Dallas and Los Angeles on a largely calm day that by midday Tuesday had still seen airlines cancel 225 flights and delay more than 2,700, according to FlightStats, an airline data provider. Those figures are expected to climb as aircraft and crew are left out of position for evening schedules.

The direct link between delays caused by staffing issues rather than weather or congestion has been difficult to gauge. The Federal Aviation Administration attributed less than half of the disruptions on Monday to its budget cuts.”

- Flightstats.com is reporting plenty of delays in Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago and Norfolk, VA.

- The FAA is now reporting longer delays at Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth: 30-45 minutes each, due to staffing and traffic management issues. Long delays of over an hour at Newark, JFK and La Guardia, which the FAA is attributing to wind conditions.

- Airlines are lobbying to temporarily suspend a rule that imposes fines for keeping passengers stranded in planes on the tarmac for excessive periods, USA Today reports. Under the role, an airline can be fined up to $27,500 for every passenger that spends more than three hours sitting on the tarmac. That adds up in planes carrying 100+ passengers; airlines say it should be suspended for 90 days while a solution to the staffing problem is worked out.

- How to follow all this news on Twitter? You can look around on the #SequestAir hashtag, where plenty are sharing their woes. Or if you’re looking for a more partisan take on things, check out#ObamaFlightDelays, which is being promoted by prominent Republicans including House speaker John Boehner, whose office released a statement yesterday quoting the hashtag in the title.

- Statement just in from the FAA: “As a result of employee furloughs due to sequestration, the FAA is implementing traffic management initiatives at airports and facilities around the country. Travelers can expect to see a wide range of delays that will change throughout the day depending on staffing and weather related issues. [...] Controllers will space planes farther apart so they can manage traffic with current staff, which will lead to delays at airports including DFW, Las Vegas and LAX [...]Yesterday more than 1,200 delays in the system were attributable to staffing reductions resulting from the furlough. There were more than 1,400 additional delays as a result of weather and other factors.”

- Alexander Romano, a CBS News staffer, is feeling the pain as his flight to New York from Palm Beach, Florida has been delayed for over an hour.

 Some stats from the WSJ’s Susan Carey and Jack Nicas: “By 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday, airlines had cancelled 110 flights and delayed more than 1,000, according to FlightStats. Delays and cancellations grew worse in the evenings on Sunday and Monday, as morning and midday disruptions put aircraft and crew out of position for evening schedules. It is unclear exactly how many flights have been cancelled or delayed specifically because of a shortage of air-traffic controllers due to FAA furloughs.”

- NBC Los Angeles says it was a rough morning at LAX: “As of 4 a.m., nearly 80 percent of flights departing LAX were delayed, as were nearly 20 percent of arrivals,” they report. “They basically cut their arrival rate in half,” Doug Church, the director of communications for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told the station. ”That’s no way to run the air traffic control system.”

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