FAA furloughs mean longer lines at McGhee Tyson Airport

FAA furloughs mean longer lines at McGhee Tyson Airport and across the country

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Passengers at McGhee Tyson Airport early Monday morning had to wait much longer than normal. Passengers at McGhee Tyson Airport early Monday morning had to wait much longer than normal.
Later in the day, much of the lines at McGhee Tyson had cleared out, but they remained in busiest airports across the country. Later in the day, much of the lines at McGhee Tyson had cleared out, but they remained in busiest airports across the country.
"We've got to do some cutbacks in some place to help this country, so if it costs me an hour or two, I'll deal with it," said Ron Jelliff. "We've got to do some cutbacks in some place to help this country, so if it costs me an hour or two, I'll deal with it," said Ron Jelliff.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

LOUISVILLE (WATE) - Airline passengers across the country had to deal with flight delays Monday, due to forced furloughs for thousands of air traffic controllers that began Sunday because of recent government budget cuts.

The most significant delays reported thus far have been in Los Angeles, where flights were pushed back by more than three hours.

New York City passengers saw a number of one-hour delays.

There was good news for local passengers though, as delays at McGhee Tyson Airport were much less severe.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it had no choice but to furlough all 47,000 of its employees, which includes 15,000 air traffic controllers.

That means there are fewer workers left to monitor the same number of flights.

While McGhee Tyson travelers saw some delays on Monday, only a handful of its nearly 120 daily flights have been affected.

"The flights that have been delayed have been less than 30 minutes," said Becky Huckaby, airport spokesperson.

But airport officials say this is only the beginning, and that it's too early to tell if the delays could get worse in the coming weeks.

For now, they're asking all passengers to arrive extra early and check flight information on their website or by using their iPhone app.

While delays locally have been minimal thus far, Huckaby says the airport's biggest concern is for passengers flying out of Knoxville who are trying to catch connections in bigger hub cities around the country, the places expected to see the longest and most frequent delays.

"You're going to want to check the flight status of that connecting flight as well, because while we may be able to get you into a Chicago market, you want to make sure your flight to your final destination is also going to be on time," said Huckaby.

Travelers flying out of Knoxville Monday say they're not looking forward to any possible delays.

"We hope this gets resolved. It's going to be very tough because we do a lot of traveling," said Marc Jacobus.

Passengers say they understand the FAA had to make cuts, which they're fine with, as long as that doesn't mean sacrificing safety.

"We've got to do some cutbacks in some place to help this country, so if it costs me an hour or two, I'll deal with it," said Ron Jelliff.

"We can stand a delay as long as everything is safe. That's what we care about most, of course," said Jacobus.

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