The Washington Post’s Ashley Halsey reported that airline trade groups filed a lawsuit on Friday in an attempt to block scheduled furloughs of air traffic controllers from going into effect. But, he noted, it may take as long as a week for the case to wind through the court system. In the meantime, furloughs began on Sunday, and there are reports of delays at several major airports.
About 1,500 controllers — 10 percent of the Federal Aviation Administration’s controller workforce — were required to take an unpaid day off Monday.
In their lawsuit, Airlines for America, Regional Airline Association and the Air Line Pilots Association International contend that officials at the Federal Aviation Administration have more leeway to implement the $637 million in mandatory spending cuts called for under the sequester that went into effect March 1. They have asked the court for an emergency stay until the FAA’s actions can be reviewed.
In their petition for review, the groups maintain that the FAA’s plan, “… will impose unnecessary, widespread delays that harm airlines, passengers, shippers, businesses and the national economy — to which the aviation industry contributes $1.3 trillion.” They also note that the financial impact will be felt immediately.
“American Airlines estimates that it alone will lose about $1.5 million each day starting Sunday as a result of the FAA-imposed delays,” according to court papers.