Airport furloughs kick in

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ATLANTA —

Flights at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and nationwide, could be affected by mandatory furloughs that begin Sunday.

More than 15,000 air traffic controllers must reduce their work hours. With fewer people to watch over the skies, planes will have to wait longer to take off and land.

Channel 2's Amanda Cook went to the airport where fliers were nervous about wait times, but so far, there have been no delays. Click here to see the airport’s listed wait times.

Federal officials decided to furlough all Federal Aviation Administration employees in order to cut $637 million from its budget as required by Congress. Each employee will lose one day of work every other week, which will amount to a 10 percent reduction in available controller work hours to staff air traffic facilities on any given day.

The way in which the FAA has chosen to implement the furloughs could result in one out of every three airline passengers across the country suffering flight delays or cancellations, industry officials said at a news conference.

Sundays are usually light air travel days, but by Monday, the president of the pilots’ union expects the effects of the furloughs to snowball, creating an air travel mess.

The airline industry and pilots union filed a lawsuit against the FAA to stop the furloughs, but that won't go to court until at least next week. FAA officials have not commented on the lawsuit.