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FAA: Airport Delays Expected To Get Worse Due To Furloughs

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MIAMI (CBS4) – It’s day three of the federal cuts that are furloughing 10 percent of the nation’s air traffic controllers and delays are spreading out around the country.

“I was, 4 hours delayed,” said Susan who travelled from St. Louis.   “The airline, American Airlines, called and left a message that it would be delayed until 10 o’clock instead of 5 o’clock.”

South Florida airports were specifically mentioned as airports that could expect delays, but at Miami International, most of the afternoon saw flights on time, or early.

“I came in from Dallas/Fort Worth,” said Shelly Shackelford, “and we left on time and we arrived early.”

Jim Marinetti with the air traffic controllers union is concerned about staffing.  He says in air traffic control towers in South Florida and across the country less experienced office staff and trainees are filling in the gaps.

“When you utilize trainees and office staff to support staff that work every day,” said Jim Marinitti from the Nation Air Traffic Controllers Association. “It’s not the same level of experience that we’re used to having.”

The FAA says these are not “fill in” people, they are fully certified controllers at the radar screens and the trainees are supervised one on one by experienced controllers.

Marinetti says if the furloughs continue, passengers will definitely notice more and longer delays.

“The delays that we’re seeing right now are barely the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “They will be progressively get worse as we get into the summer.”

To find out the latest airport delays go to www.fly.faa.gov.

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