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Flight delays pile up after FAA budget cuts

Monday - 4/22/2013, 4:00pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Up and down the East Coast, airports are reporting flight delays. This is the first weekday on which thousands of air traffic controllers are being forced to take an unpaid day off because of federal budget cuts.

Some flights into New York, Baltimore and Washington are seeing delays of more than two hours.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been keeping some planes on the ground because there weren't enough controllers to monitor the busy air corridors.

The controller cuts -- a 10 percent reduction of the staff -- went into effect yesterday, but the full force wasn't felt until this morning. Monday is typically one of the busiest days at airports.

At New York's LaGuardia Airport, one out of every five flights scheduled to take off before noon today was delayed 15 minutes or more, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. The situation was similar at Washington's Reagan National Airport, as well as in Newark, N.J., and in Philadelphia.

The furloughs are part of the mandatory budget cuts that kicked in on March 1 after lawmakers missed a deadline to agree on a long-term deficit reduction plan.

FAA officials have said they have no choice but to furlough all of the 47,000 agency employees, including nearly 15,000 controllers. Each employee loses one day of work every other week.

%@AP Links

183-w-31-(Jon Belmont, AP correspondent, with National Association of Air Traffic Controllers spokesman Mike Foote)--It's hurry up and wait for many passengers at the airport today. Associated Press correspondent Jon Belmont reports. (22 Apr 2013)

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140-a-11-(Fay Parris, airline traveler, in interview)-"be more efficiency"-Airline traveler Fay Parris says having fewer air traffic controllers on duty is making a difference. COURTESY: KNBC TV ((mandatory on-air credit)) (22 Apr 2013)

<> 00:11 "be more efficiency"

APPHOTO CADD103: Travelers Debra Seymour, third from left, and her mother, Annette Forest in wheelchair, whose flight was delayed last night, stand on line at the Southwest Airlines terminal at LAX International Airport in Los Angeles Monday, April 22, 2013. It was a tough start to the week for many air travelers. Flight delays piled up all along the East Coast as thousands of air traffic controllers were forced to take an unpaid day off because of federal budget cuts. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (22 Apr 2013)

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APPHOTO CADD101: An American Airlines plane takes off at LAX International airport in Los Angeles Monday, April 22, 2013. Some fliers headed to Los Angeles International Airport were met with delays yesterday on the first day of staffing cuts for air traffic controllers because of government spending reductions. Budget cuts that kicked in last month forced the FAA to give controllers extra days off. Commercial airline flights moved smoothly throughout most of the country on Sunday, April 21, 2013, the first day air traffic controllers were subject to furloughs resulting from government spending cuts, though some delays appeared in the late evening in and around New York. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (22 Apr 2013)

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