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Staffing delays LAX flights by 3-hour average

Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday, April 21, 2013.

April 21, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
On the first day of furloughs for air traffic controllers, Los Angeles International Airport reported that a staffing issue caused some arriving flights to be delayed an average of 3 hours and 7 minutes.

Starting Sunday, there will be three fewer controllers in the tower at LAX per day/ The furloughs were part of the sequestration cuts ordered by Congress.

"When you're having cuts like this, it's not good. It's one of the very few jobs I think that should not have one," said traveler Nathan Belliveau of Las Vegas.

One air traffic controller explained that flights heading for LAX were delayed in taking off because there were already too many airborne aircraft approaching LAX.

Mike Foote of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association said with fewer people directing traffic, there may be more spacing between planes to slow down the system. The Federal Aviation Administration said safety won't be compromised.

Delays would depend on the airport, the time of day and the volume of traffic.

Air traffic controllers hope pressure from the public and the airline industry can end the furloughs, which are scheduled to last through the end of September.