As sequestration continued to roll through the U.S. economy as April 2013 closed out, thousands of domestic and international flights were delayed at airports around the nation as air traffic controllers submitted to mandatory furlough days. The sequester is a broad package of across-the-board tax cuts that automatically went into effect in early March when federal legislators were incapable of settling on a budget deal.
The total number of delays more than tripled from this time in April 2012, from 2,795 to 8,804, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that about 40 percent of those delays were due to lack of controllers in the towers.
After six days of hundreds and thousands of flight delays brought on by the staffing shortages and millions of dollars in economic productive lost, Congress sprang into action April 26, 2013,to vote the Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 into law. The legislation will allow the FAA the budgetary discretion to transfer approximately $250 million from other accounts to keep air-traffic controllers in the towers.
"This should prevent the onerous delays that have been occurring and that were only going to get worse as the traveling season reached its peak this summer," said Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, reports USA today.