Sen. Coats: FAA furloughs are "manufactured crisis"

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Indiana Senator Dan Coats wants the government to immediately stop the furloughs of air traffic controllers which are causing flight delays across the country.

The senator is questioning the FAA's decision to allow "across the board" furloughs when it first promised that it can lower costs with minimal impact on air travelers.

The FAA blames the furloughs on forced spending cuts under the so-called "sequester." The transportation secretary is blaming Congress for failing to reach a budget deal, and warns the situation could grow worse.

Coats and some fellow Republican senators are calling the flight delays a "manufactured crisis."

FAA statement (April 24, 2013):

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. For example, the FAA is experiencing staffing challenges at the Miami and Los Angeles En Route Centers, the Tampa TRACON, and Chicago O'Hare and Tampa Towers. Controllers will space planes farther apart so they can manage traffic with current staff, which will lead to delays at airports including Chicago O'Hare, Las Vegas and Tampa. The FAA also expects delays at a number of other airports because of weather and winds.

The FAA will continue to work with the airlines throughout the day to try and minimize delays for travelers. We encourage all travelers to check their flight status and also to visit for the latest airport delay information.

Yesterday more than 1,025 delays in the system were attributable to staffing reductions resulting from the furlough. There were more than 975 additional delays as a result of weather and other factors.