By Claudia DoCampo
Furloughs for air traffic controllers were causing flight delays at some of the nation’s biggest airports Monday morning as some effects were being felt at South Florida’s airports.
At Miami International Airport, some passengers reported being delayed on flights coming from New York’s LaGuardia and JFK Airports.
“About 20 minutes more than normal, It’s quite a bit because I was in a preferred access line but I was delayed,” business traveler Mukesh Parikh said.
“I hate to see the lines get much longer at the security but I’m hoping everything will be okay here at MIA,” said Philip Carter, who was heading out on vacation.
The furloughs are affecting 47,000 FAA employees including 15,000 air traffic controllers. Those air traffic have to now to take an unpaid day off for every 10 days they work. These cuts are part of the government sequester spending cuts and will be in effect until September.
On Sunday, Governor Rick Scott sent a letter to President Barak Obama on Sunday, asking him to stop the furloughs and saying they will have a devastating impact on Florida families by creating unnecessary delays at Florida airports.
Obama Signs Order Enacting Sequester
According to the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida airports accommodate more than 142 million passengers annually. Scott said the furloughs would cause a direct economic output reduction of $19 million annually.
The governor said Florida communities will be disproportionately impacted because the state has four large hub airports, including those in Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
FAA to Close 149 Air Traffic Towers Under Budget Cuts
The airline industry and the nation’s largest pilots union are suing the Federal Aviation Administration over the furloughs.