'Sequesterless' so far
So far, so good, for the possible impact of the sequester on Piedmont Triad International Airport.
But airport Executive Director Kevin Baker candidly acknowledges he doesn’t know when or if the effect of the federal sequester might descend to the runways and passenger terminal at PTIA.
On Sunday, the phased-in effects of the federal sequester budget cuts prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to begin ordering furlough days for air traffic controllers. Upward of 400 flights were delayed at major airports in cities such as New York and Los Angeles Sunday, with more airline service interruptions extending into this week.
On Monday, the FAA reported that 1,200 flights delays nationwide could be attributed to “staffing reductions resulting from the furlough.” By comparison, more than 1,400 delays took place Monday because of weather and other factors, according to the FAA.
So far passengers at PTIA haven’t suffered extensive delays or flights cancellations that can be traced to the sequester, Baker said during the monthly meeting of the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority Tuesday afternoon.
Baker said that sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between interruption of airline service traced to the sequester and delays or cancellations because of other reasons, such as weather.
Henry Isaacson, chairman of the airport’s governing board, said that PTIA has no control over sequester delays that affecting arriving flights.
The FAA indicates that the sequester delays result from controllers spacing planes farther apart so they can manage traffic with reduced air tower staffs.
“The FAA will continue to work with the airlines throughout the day to try and minimize delays for travelers. We encourage all travelers to check their flight status,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday.
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