Washington -- The automatic cutbacks that were introduced in various fields in the US last March led to major disruption in air traffic and many flight delays. Air traffic control staff was no longer able to be paid and were sent home with furlough notices. The US Senate now appears to be taking measures to end the chaos at US airports. Fortunately, the cutbacks haven't led to delays on flights to America, meaning European travellers were largely spared.
In March of this year, automatic cutbacks were imposed in the US. The Democrats and Republicans had tried to come up with a plan to cut federal spending. Failure to do so would lead to automatic cutbacks in various areas. The two parties were unable to come to an agreement, meaning the cutbacks were introduced.
Cutbacks air traffic control
American air traffic was one of the areas that was hugely affected. As a result of the cuts, air traffic controllers and other aviation personnel were no longer able to be paid and were subsequently sent home. Serious disruption in the processing of air traffic ensued. But the US Senate has now unanimously decided to bring back full funding for aviation authority FAA. The House of Representatives is yet to approve the proposal.
Delays US airports; no delays on flights to America
Due to air traffic controllers and other personnel being issued notices of furlough, air traffic was seriously disrupted, leading to numerous flight delays. Air traffic control representatives even warned that the understaffing could potentially lead to flight cancellations of US flights. Large air hubs like New York, Atlanta and Chicago O'Hare would be the airports most affected.
Fortunately, the cutbacks haven't so far affected flights to America travelling from international airports. With the proposed solutions, the delays will hopefully end soon, and European travellers will remain mostly unaffected. It is feared, however, that the long wait times at US ports in recent months will discourage Europeans from travelling to the US in the future. Jurgen Weber, chairman of Lufthansa's supervisory board and part of 'Global Entry', a U.S. background-check program to speed up Customs and Border Protection processing from overseas, said in March that lines at New York's LaGuardia airport were hundreds of metres long, both for domestic and foreign travellers, resulting in wait times of several hours in some cases. He stated: "It's unbelievable that this nation at the helm of technology thinks about reducing the number of air-traffic controllers, the number of security people at the airport."
Written by: Team Flight-Delayed