UPDATE (April 28): Air traffic control towers return to normal as of tonight. The FAA has “suspended all employee furloughs. Air traffic facilities will begin to return to regular staffing levels by Sunday evening”.
UPDATE (April 26): As expected, the House also passed the legislation and it now goes to the President for signing.
Last night (April 25), the U.S. Senate quickly passed legislation that would end the sequestration-prompted air traffic controller furloughs that have been blamed for thousands of delayed flights this week alone.
Sometime today, the House of Representatives is expected to do likewise.
Lawmakers Got Message from Airlines, Passengers
Earlier this week, the FAA warned of new delays in Chicago, Las Vegas and Tampa due to lack of controllers. Airlines, meanwhile, were blasting the furloughs on their websites and seeking passenger help – asking them to contact their elected officials and sound-off. One passenger reportedly said the delays (and in some cases, cancelations) had gotten so bad, she wished she taken a train.
Money Found for More Controllers
According to news reports, the new legislation will allow the FAA to use about $250 million to “prevent reduced operations and staffing” through the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 1) which is how long these sequester-related cuts were to have lasted.