Industry trade group Airlines for America (A4A) is predicting thousands of flight delays due to sequestration-related air traffic control furloughs.
The group filed a motion in U.S. Appellate Court Friday to prevent FAA from furloughing air traffic controllers and implementing ground stops that would cause delays of up to four hours at major hub airports across the nation. FAA began furloughing air traffic controllers this week as the sequester reduced its 2013 fiscal year operating budget by $637 million.
The court denied A4A's stay request Friday night, according to a spokeswoman for FAA.
During a meeting with airline industry representatives last week, A4A learned that FAA would begin implementing automatic ground stops that will reduce flight arrivals up to 40 percent at some airports, though the agency was not specific about which airports or airlines would be impacted the most. The agency could not be reached to confirm A4A's report that FAA is projecting flight delays impacting up to 6,700 flights per day.
On Monday the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey posted a notice for John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport — one of the busiest airports in the nation — stating that “due to federal budget issues, travelers may experience flight delays at the airport.”
“We continue to believe that the FAA has other means to reach a 10 percent budget reduction than to impact the traveling public. When a company needs to make a 10 percent budget reduction, the answer is not to make it is so inefficient that no one wants to do business with it anymore,” said Nicholas E. Calio, president and CEO of A4A.
The Air Line Pilots Association and Regional Airline Association (RAA) joined A4A in the lawsuit, which asked for a 30-day delay to furloughing the controllers.
Several lawmakers have introduced legislation to block the controllers from being furloughed, however the furloughs began as scheduled on Sunday.
Related: Senate Hearing Examines Sequester's Impact on FAA