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All Things Travel: End Of Air Traffic Control Furloughs Is Victory For Travelers

By Bob Weiss, CBSBoston.com Travel Contributor
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Logan Airport air traffic control tower (File image/ C.J. GUNTHER/AFP/Getty Images)

Logan Airport air traffic control tower (File image/ C.J. GUNTHER/AFP/Getty Images)

Bob-Weiss Bob Weiss
Bob Weiss’s All Things Travel reports can be heard weekly on WBZ...
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BOSTON (CBS) — It was a clear victory for the flying public last week on two major issues and there was little for the FAA or the TSA to say.

In record time, Congress approved a bill, to be signed this week by President Barack Obama, to end the mandated furloughs for air traffic controllers.

With a busy business travel and the peak summer travel seasons on the horizon, Congress took only a couple of days to pass legislation that would cancel the so-called sequester.

That act had called for across-the-board furloughs and the closing of 140 air traffic control towers at regional airports.

By Monday, all airport operations were expected to be back to normal.

Congress found over $250 million in unspent airport funds to care of any additional costs.

Federal ticket taxes and fees for travelers account for about two-thirds of the funding for the FAA that is part of The Department of Transportation.

If the furloughs had continued, it was estimated that 6,500 flights a day might have been affected. That figure is twice the average number of flights affected under normal operations.

The furloughs did not have a major impact on operations at Logan Airport. Flights along the northeast corridor to New York and Washington experienced the longest delays.

Meanwhile, the TSA quietly postponed a change that would have allowed slightly larger knives to be carried on to planes along with sporting goods.

The reason given was that more time was needed to study the change. Flight crews and passengers objected to the change. No new target date for any change has been announced.

Congress may have acted so quickly because their members realized that they might be delayed in getting back to their home states.

You have to look back to 1981 to find any kind of a similar activity by the air-traffic controllers union. That year the controllers went on strike and President Ronald Reagan fired over 12,000 workers and new people had to be hired and trained.

President Barack Obama wasn’t in favor of the bill passed by Congress but said he would sign the bill.

Bob Weiss and All Things Travel can be heard on WBZ News Radio

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