Federal cuts likely mean longer delays at airports

ROMULUS, Mich. (WXYZ) - Find yourself frustrated with those long lines at the airport? A month from now you will be waiting even longer once deep federal funding cuts take effect.

An extra 90 minutes.  That's how much longer the Federal Aviation Administration predicts you will have to wait at major airports like Detroit Metro Airport during peak flying times.   

"That's suicide, that's crazy.  It's crazy," said Barbara Palmer waiting in line to fly out to Las Vegas.

They are called sequestration cuts that happened as a result of a compromise in 2011 to increase the federal debt ceiling. 

Even during off peak times, the Transporation Security Administration announced a 30 minute delay or more. 

"I don't even like waiting in this long of a line, so 30 minutes more, no," said Haley Mercy who had an outbound flight at DTW.

The federal cuts mean that agencies like the TSA will implement a hiring freeze and reductions in overtime. There will be less staff at places like security checkpoints.

"There will be impacts on through put.  How many passengers can they screen?  How many passengers can they let into the country?  How many planes can they control in the airspace?" asked Scott Wintner, with the Wayne County Airport Authority.

The delays will be so bad it will feel like there is a massive snow storm at the airport every day said Matt Bird.  Bird is the representative for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.  The cuts mean they will be forced to take mandatory furlough days.

"I don't think anyone plans their life around a 10 percent pay cut which is what this will be if it runs through October," said Bird.

Smaller airports like at Ypsilanti's Willow Run Airport will lose air traffic controllers overnight.  Others will lose them all together. 

It will be a few months before the severity of the cuts will truly be known.

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