That means big changes are coming for airports all across the country, including ones in Central Illinois. But big changes mean big inconveniences for travelers.
If you've ever been to an airport around the holidays, you know it can be a hassle. But get ready for even longer delays starting this spring. The FFA says it's planning to slash more than a half billion dollars from its budget.
The cuts include cutting hours for thousands of employees across the board. They also plan to close air traffic control towers at smaller airports, like Springfield, Decatur and Bloomington. Plus, they would cut back on maintaining air traffic equipment, like radar and radios.
But the cuts come at a price. Officials say safety is still the top priority, not speed. For busy hubs like Chicago-O'Hare, expect 90 minute delays on top of regular wait times. That's because fewer workers mean a less efficient travel network.
For instance, if there are fewer air traffic controllers on duty, flights may take off later. The furlough days and facility shut-downs are set to start in April. That can be avoided though if lawmakers can reach a budget deal before the automatic cuts kick in. They have until March 1, 2013.