Minimal Airport Delays Despite Democrats' Sequester Scare

Tuesday, 05 Mar 2013 10:07 AM

By Cyrus Afzali

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Major airports nationwide reported few delays Monday, despite grim weekend warnings from Homeland Security officials advising fliers to expect lines up to twice as long as normal because of the forced federal spending cuts.

Even officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Miami International Airport — both cited by Homeland Security officials as suffering from delays of up to three hours over the weekend — said there were no major problems.

According to The Wall Street Journal, a freeze in overtime pay did affect staffing at customs and immigration checkpoints Saturday at JFK and Miami, leading to two- to three-hour waits.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the delays were as much as 200 percent longer than normal. "We will see these effects cascade over the next week," she said.

However, officials from a dozen major airports reported few unusual flight delays or lines at security or customs checkpoints by the start of the work week. Spokesmen for JFK and Miami airports said there were no issues on Monday.

Republicans have claimed that doom-and-gloom claims from President Barack Obama's administration about the effect of the sequester are overblown.

If the budget impasse drags on for some time, delays could increase as the freeze on hiring  and the inability to pay overtime will gradually reduce staffing among federal airport workers. Federal officials have promised the cuts will not have an impact on safety.


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