Flight delayed? Republicans blame FAA, and FAA blames 'sequester.'
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said the agency had to furlough control-tower staff, and see a rise in flight delays, as an inescapable consequence of this spring's across-the-board federal spending cuts tied to legislation known as the “sequester.”
Republican lawmakers questioned that view at a budget hearing, suggesting that the spending cuts could be done differently and that the FAA did a poor job preparing airports and airlines for this week’s cuts in staffing of air-traffic controllers.
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Rep. Harold Rogers (R) of Kentucky pushed this view the hardest, asserting that it seems like a “shocking lapse of management” that airlines got details about the furlough plans only last Tuesday.
Administrator Huerta said the FAA had given general warnings, back in February, that the budget cuts would require a roughly 10 percent reduction in control-tower staffing, affecting airports including major hubs.