TODAY   |  April 25, 2013

Congress, FAA pass blame over flight delays

With 1500 fewer air traffic controllers on the job due to furloughs, airline passengers are finding hundreds of flights delayed as Congress and the FAA point fingers. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> to be another frustrating day for passengers at some of the nation's busiest airports. pressure is now mounting on congress to end those travel delays tied to the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester. tom costello at reagan national airport with the latest developments on this story. good morning to you.

>> reporter: savannah, good morning. thousands of flights delayed just since sunday and it's fair to say there's a lot of finger pointing going on between democrats and republicans and the white house and the faa and the airlines. bottom line is that passengers are caught in the middle of this washington dysfunction and they're getting angry about it. from los angeles to atlanta, new york to washington --

>> chicago o'hare airport.

>> reporter: the nation's control towers and radar facilities are now five days into the furloughs that have slowed takeoffs and landings nationwide. and nobody is happy.

>> they didn't provide any information at that time. we got there on the tarmac.

>> i guess it's the politicians back in washington just can't seem to play in the same sand box .

>> reporter: there was plenty of anger boiling over on capitol hill .

>> this imperial attitude on part of the administration and you're the most recent example of that imperialism, is disgusting.

>> reporter: with republicans accusing the faa of waiting until the last minute to let the airlines know where the furloughs would create the most impact.

>> we told them they should expect significant impacts at major hub facilities.

>> well, everyone knew that.

>> and insisting the faa could've found other places to cut rather than furloughing controllers. while the white house counters the law doesn't allow flexibility in where it cuts.

>> they should read the law. they wrote it, they should know what's in it. they passed it, voted for it, they should know what's in it.

>> reporter: also angry, the airline, their business and passengers are suffering.

>> we think the air traffic controllers should be deemed essential. they've never been furloughed and there's a very good reason for that. they are front line safety professionals who ensure the safety and efficiency of the national air space .

>> reporter: it have overriding issue is whether there's a better way in a $16 billion budget to cut $160 million. the administration says congress has ordered it must be done this way. congress isn't so sure about that. bottom line , they're now trying to come up with a way to give the faa to find the money to cut elsewhere and avoid these furloughs. but talk about dysfunction up there on capitol hill . back to you.

>> can't get fixed fast enough for passengers. tom costello, thank you.