Government warns of more flight delays as blame flies
A day after flight delays plagued much of the U.S., air travel is smoother Tuesday. But the government is warning passengers that the situation can change by the hour as it runs the nation's air traffic control system with a smaller staff.
Airlines and members of Congress urged the Federal Aviation Administration to find other ways to make mandatory budget cuts besides furloughing controllers. While delays haven't been terrible yet, the airlines are worried about the long-term impact late flights will have on their budgets and on fliers.
US Airways CEO Doug Parker said he doesn't believe the furloughs can be tolerated for long.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood pointed the finger at Congress, which forced government agencies to cut spending after failing to reach a deficit-reduction plan.
Meantime, two senators are asking the Obama administration to postpone the furloughing of air traffic controllers, saying the turmoil caused by reduced staffing raises economic and security concerns as well as inconveniencing thousands of travelers.
Commercial airline flights started backing up and delayed some travelers Monday, a day after air traffic controllers started going on furlough because of government spending cuts.
Kansas Republican Jerry Moran says delaying the furloughs that began Sunday would both give the administration a chance to change its mind about the necessity of the unpaid leaves and give Congress a chance to find a remedy.
Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal says a postponement of at least 30 days is appropriate at a time when there are heightened security concerns.
The two lawmakers were promoting legislation to prevent another aspect of automatic government spending cuts - the closing of 149 Federal Aviation Administration contract control towers.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)