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FAA Ends Air Traffic Control Furloughs

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Less than a week after the Federal Aviation Administration furloughed 10 percent of the nation’s air traffic controllers the agency has done an about face.

On Saturday, the FAA announced an end to the furloughs.

“The FAA has suspended all employee furloughs. Air traffic facilities will begin to return to regular staffing levels over the next 24 hours and the system will resume normal operations by Sunday evening,” according to a statement.

The air traffic controller furloughs came from the sequestration cuts under federal law which required $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts as a penalty for Congress not reaching a deal on specific budget balancing plans.

FAA officials said they had no choice but to furlough all 47,000 agency employees, including nearly 15,000 controllers beginning last Monday. Under the furlough plan each employee would lose one day of work every other week. Because of the cut backs planes took off and landed less frequently, so as not to overload the remaining controllers on duty.

Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta had warned that the furloughs would result in delays up to several hours at the largest hub airports, including Miami International and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International.

Last month, the FAA delayed until June 15 the sequestration-tied closure of 149 federally contracted air traffic control towers, including 14 in Florida.

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