WILLIAMSTOWN -While air travelers around the country are seeing flight delays because of furloughs of air traffic controllers as part of federal spending cuts, the local airport has not experienced the problems.
"Since we were not on the list for the late-night closures, we have not seen the delays and since Cleveland wasn't on the list, either, I don't think they are seeing delays on their end," said Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport manager Terry Moore. "We have had delays for other reasons, but nothing has been related to the government furloughs."
The furloughs took effect Sunday. Federal Aviation Administration chief Michael Huerta has warned of major flight delays at the most congested times in the busiest airports.
As of Monday afternoon, delays as long as two hours were reported on the FAA's delay website (www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/usmap.jsp) with the majority of airports experiencing delays of 15 minutes or less. There were about 400 delays nationwide on Sunday as the controllers faced their first day of delays.
"While locally there are no delays, I cannot say travelers using our airport to get somewhere else will not see delays," Moore said. "If they are going to a larger airport, there is a possibility their flight from Cleveland or somewhere else could be late."
Government budget cuts kicked in last month, forcing the FAA and other agencies to cut spending. FAA officials have said they have no choice but to furlough all 47,000 agency employees, including nearly 15,000 controllers.
Each employee will lose one day of work every other week. The FAA has said that planes will have to take off and land less frequently, so as not to overload the remaining controllers on duty.
Although the current furloughs are not affecting the local air traffic control tower, local, state and federal officials are fighting to keep it and another 149 towers open. In March it was announced 149 towers around the country would close due to the sequestration.
Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., have written letters in support of keeping the towers open. U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., last week co-sponsored the Air Traffic Control Tower Funding Restoration Act to restore and provide funding to the towers scheduled to close.