Apr 22, 2013 9:52 PM by April Hansen, KSBY News
The Federal Aviation Administration has made $600 million in budget cuts, causing dozens of flight delays and cancellations around the country and marking the beginning of furloughs for air traffic controllers.
There were a few delays and cancellations at Central Coast airports, but the majority of the backup was at larger airports.
"Would I be upset? Well kind of. Definitely," said passenger Andi Perejda. She needs to get to Paducah, Kentucky, but with LAX averaging flights delay more than three hours, she hopes for the best.
"Usually, it is a long delay especially when you have to come in and out of small airports and go to the larger ones," said Perejda.
Passenger Edward White says getting home to Denver on time doesn't seem promising, but knows he'll get there sometime.
"I kind of take it with a roll. Punching roll. Not much I can do about it," said White.
The FAA said delays were expected to get worse. Because of these budget cuts, more than 15,000 air traffic controllers will be losing a day of work every other week, which means fewer eyes on the skies and more potential for flight delays. In small airports like Santa Maria, those flight delays did not seem to trickle down just yet.
"We may be affected by the same delays as the big airports because we fly to those big airports," said Chris Hastert, Santa Maria Public Airport Manager.
Perejda says the sky looks clear from Santa Maria, but she's preparing for a few bumps.
"I would just make sure I would spend the night in Chicago somewhere in a chair very uncomfortable," said Perejda.
Hastert says delays and cancellations can be costly because of more staff time and security, making it tough for airports to staff because part of the budget cuts prevent airport staff from having overtime.
Hastert says travelers should be prepared for flight delays and watch their flight status online or on their smart phone.
The FAA says flight schedules will need to accommodate the remaining controllers so planes will have to take off and land less frequently.
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