Budget Cuts Caused A Week Of Delays At Nation's Airports

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Federal Aviation Administration said flights at local airports should be back to normal Sunday night, after a week of delays caused by federal spending cuts.

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Air traffic controllers returned to full staffing Sunday, after furloughs kept some off the job. The FAA announced Saturday that the furloughs would be coming to an end.

The move came after Congress approved a bill Friday allowing the U.S. Department of Transportation to shift about $250 million within the agency and put 15,000 air traffic controllers back on the job full-time.

The furloughs were put in place as the across-the-board sequester budget cuts hit the FAA.

The FAA had ordered all of its 47,000 employees to stay home one day a week to cover the cuts.

Many air travelers faced a week of frustration with widespread delays because of the cuts.

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Air travelers at LaGuardia Airport Sunday morning expressed relief that the delays were coming to an end.

“We actually sat though on the plane a lot, probably 40 minutes before takeoff,” one woman told CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell. “We backed away from the gate and they said ‘we just were told that we are going to be an hour and 20 minutes sitting on the runway.'”

“When I flew in from Dallas, I had to sit for about an hour and a half, so that was not pleasant — which meant that I didn’t get here until very late after midnight,” said traveler Keith Thompson. “So I’m glad that they’re back on schedule, hopefully.”

Michael from Far Rockaway told WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola that he experienced the effects of the $637 million budget cuts last week when he flew to Detroit.

“I was stranded at South Carolina, I was there for like 14 hours. It was really bad,” he told Kosola.

He added that he didn’t face any delays on his flight back to LaGuardia on Sunday morning.

Some in Washington, including President Barack Obama, said canceling the furloughs is only a quick fix to the much larger budget issue. Meanwhile, Republicans have argued that the White House forced the furloughs, so as to put public pressure on Congress.

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