Delays at Lindbergh Field, SoCal airports as FAA furloughs kick in

SAN DIEGO - A handful of mostly minor delays were reported at Lindbergh Field and other airports around Southern California and the nation Monday as a result of the furloughing of air traffic controllers under federal sequestration budget cuts.

Around noon, about 20 percent of departures from San Diego were late or very late, according to the website About 10 percent of the arrivals were late or very late, according to the website.

Mike Dehoogh traveled from Sacramento to San Diego on a business trip. He said his flight was on time, but he fears what is to come.

"Delays, less safety, more traffic stacked up," Dehoogh told 10News.

"If it was delayed it was like they said, five minutes, and I didn't notice it," a woman passenger at Lindbergh Field told a local media outlet. "None of it bothered me."

The delays were far worse Sunday night, when the average hold-up was three hours in the Southern California Terminal Radius Approach Control (TRACON), according to National Air Traffic Controllers Association spokesman Doug Church.

"They basically cut their arrival rate in half," Church said. "That's no way to run the air traffic control system."

The Federal Aviation Administration is requiring all workers to take one unpaid day off within every 10-day period through Sept. 30, and that goes beyond control towers in airports, Church said.

Dehoogh blames Congress for the delays, and he said, "I think it's bologna. There are other things we can cut like politicians pay for not doing their jobs and messing things up royally."

The TRACON at Miramar controls aircraft after takeoff and on approach throughout Southern California, and there's a regional control center in Palmdale that controls aircraft at high altitudes. The furloughs at those facilities affect flights throughout the system.

"Like a water spigot, their effects are felt," Church said.

Minor delays were also reported at Los Angeles International Airport and John Wayne Orange County Airport today.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) said, "So far no evidence of delays today, but that's not surprising as Sunday is a slow travel day and weather is good. [Tomorrow] will be a better day to begin to judge how this may play out. Where this is likely to become more impactful is in summer months with heavy travel and thunderstorms ..."

NATCA went on to say, "… All controllers face 1 day of furlough every two weeks; 11 total by end of September ..."


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