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Originally published Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 11:14 AM

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FAA chief: Expect flight delays due to furloughs

The government's top aviation official says the public should expect flight delays as furloughs kick in Sunday for air traffic controllers.

Associated Press

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WASHINGTON —

The government's top aviation official says the public should expect flight delays as furloughs kick in Sunday for air traffic controllers.

Michael Huerta heads the Federal Aviation Administration. He says the effects may be felt unevenly across the country, because each airport's operations are unique.

Huerta told a Senate committee Thursday the FAA could find no way to make the automatic spending cuts required by Congress without the furloughs.

The FAA has 47,000 employees, including nearly 15,000 controllers. Employees are scheduled for one furlough day every other week between now and Sept. 30.

That will reduce the number of controllers on duty at any time by 10 percent.

Huerta said it will be necessary to slow down operations in order to maintain safety, which will create traffic delays.

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