Monday, April 22, 2013

Furlough Update

 This was the scene when I came up to the tower cab this morning: A row of media trucks lined up between terminals one and two. All, no doubt, waiting for the big story of the day: Air traffic delays caused by air traffic controllers being furloughed as a result of the budget sequestration. Six LAX tower controllers were assigned furloughs today -- about ten percent of our entire complement. I heard a sound bite of our LAX union rep on NPR on the way in, along with news that there were three-hour delays at LAX yesterday evening and into last night. A lot of our evening flights got pushed back past midnight; the overnight guys got a real workout.

A little while later, there was an incredible line of people. They must've been waiting for their interviews!

The biggest delays I saw today were for flights leaving LAX for JFK: I saw at least one on the ground with a three-hour delay assigned. Later, we had to keep JFK flights on the ground regardless of their assigned delay time (known in controller parlance as a "ground stop").  JFK was not the only affected airport; I just happened to take note of it specifically because I worked an airplane assigned a three-hour delay. Other airports I specifically noticed were Charlotte, Newark, and Teterboro. In addition, there was a large chunk of airspace in the southeast that had flow restrictions.

One other item of news today was the 24-hour strike at Lufthansa. We had two of their aircraft spend the night at LAX, seen here via the remote camera at the west remote gates:


  1. IMHO, The delays caused by these furloughs are a problem largely created by the airlines. The delays would be vastly reduced, there would not be the need for additional runway capacity at some airports, and safer airspace would result because the controllers would have fewer planes to handle at a time if airlines would stop doing things like having 6 RJ flights a day on a route that could be operated by 2 737/MD-80 sized aircraft per day (or a similar ratio on routes that used to be operated by a few DC-10/747 sized aircraft but have now have multiple 737/A320 aircraft) to cover the same seat capacity.

    I realize some controllers will feel the pinch of reduced income from the lost shifts. On the other hand, you guys will actually have some time away from work! I remember reading in one of your past blogs that you had to work 6 days a week (or every other week) for months because the LAX tower was understaffed with fully qualified controllers, or did I remember that wrong?

    Anyways, thank you once again for all the great pictures and information you share with us in this blog CV! I hope you will find some relaxation and enjoyment from your days off.


  2. So will you have more time to blog with the sequester?