Some US Flights Delayed as Government Furloughs Begin

Reagan National Airport air traffic controller Sundie Yukich (2nd L) directs aircraft from the control tower in Washington, Feb. 28, 2013.
Some flights along the eastern U.S. seaboard are being delayed by an hour or more as air traffic controllers begin the first of a series of work furloughs resulting from government spending cuts.

The government recorded flight delays in several cities Monday, including at three New York area airports, and farther south in Baltimore and Charlotte, North Carolina. The Federal Aviation Administration said high winds and airport runway maintenance also contributed to the delays.

The furloughs officially went into effect Sunday, but the real test of airline efficiency showed up Monday, the first day of the business week.

The furloughs have forced officials to cut the number of air traffic controllers working at any one time, mandating a reduction in the number of planes that can be in the air at the same time. Some of the air traffic controllers are being furloughed without pay for one day every two weeks.

The staffing cutbacks are part of a government plan aimed at trimming chronic U.S. budget deficits. Other U.S. workers will also be laid off at various times in the coming months, curtailing some government services.