Impact Of FAA Cuts In Illinois Will Vary

Apr 23, 2013

Federal budget cuts are expected to affect airports in Illinois. However, the scope of these reductions may vary. 

When automatic spending cuts took effect last month, air travelers were warned that by late April, they could start noticing the impact. Now that the FAA is carrying out furloughs for air traffic controllers, flight delays are creeping up. The situation was especially felt on Monday, when some 12-hundred delays nationwide were attributed to the cuts. Observers say things ran a little more smoothly on Tuesday.

At O’Hare International, officials projected an average flight delay of 50 minutes as a result of the reduced manpower. However, at Chicago-Rockford International Airport, operators have been told by the FAA to expect very minimal impact.

But RFD Director Mike Dunn problems at other airports will have a ripple effect. He says it may create longer waits for some passenger flights, as well as the many cargo flights that are part of the daily schedule.

“When you talk about the 20 flights a night or so that are coming into Rockford, they’re coming from throughout the country. And when you have a problem at New York or L.A., we anticipate that some of those flights may be delayed as well” Dunn said.

Dunn says the most serious impact for them involves the Rockford Air Fest. The June event was recently postponed because spending cuts grounded the Blue Angels flight team. Airport officials are hoping to put something together for Labor Day weekend