Sequester causes 400 U.S. airport delays; Philly-area flights unaffected

    U.S. airports have started feeling the pain of the federal sequester.

    On Sunday, the Federal Aviation Administration began furloughing air traffic controllers in order to deal with automatic spending cuts. There were about 400 delays Sunday at airports nationwide because of the staffing reductions.

    Flights at the Philadelphia International Airport were running smoothly Monday, according to spokeswoman Victoria Lupica. However, she urged travelers to check with their airlines for the status of their flights.

    As of Monday afternoon, no delays due to reduced staffing were reported at the Atlantic City and Lehigh Valley international airports.

    Capt. Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, warned that Philadelphia will eventually be affected by the cuts.

    “This is not the canceling of White House tours,” he said. “The practical effect is that it disrupts the national transportation system and has an incredible economic impact throughout the entire country. … We shouldn’t be furloughing essential personnel.”

    The forced budget cuts went into effect because Congress and President Obama failed to reach a deal on the budget earlier this year. On any given day, 1,500 controllers of 15,000 nationwide will be furloughed.

    “Travelers can expect to see a wide range of delays that will change throughout the day depending on staffing and weather-related issues,” FAA spokesman Jim Peters said Monday.

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