April 27, 2013

Air Traffic Controllers' Furloughs Ended

All AZ Reps vote to reverse after flight delays in nation's airports

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All nine of Arizona's federal representatives voted with the majority Friday to end the furloughs forced on air traffic controllers as part of federal budget cuts.

The vote on the Reducing Flight Delays Act was 361-41 in the U.S. House. President Barack Obama said Friday he will sign the bill, allowing the Federal Aviation Administration to make budget cuts in other areas, U.S. Rep. Ron Barber said after the vote.

As part of cuts known as sequestration, all air traffic controllers were forced to take one day off without pay every two weeks, or a 10 percent pay cut.

Barber said he experienced the impact of the delays, which began when the furloughs started this week.

“I saw it myself when I flew out on Tuesday. There was a delay in Dallas because of the delays elsewhere, and it just got worse as the week went on. People were just getting backed up even from previous days flights trying to get out of whatever city they were in," he said.

The air traffic control tower at Ryan Airfield in Southern Arizona was also scheduled to close as part of budget cuts. A final decision on that was postponed for a few weeks, Barber said Friday.

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