US warns of flight delays, cancellations due to sequester

The United States warned of a large scale flight delays and cancellations as a result of the sequester or the automatic spending cuts on March 1.

"This also includes international travel including that to India," the US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, told reporters on Friday.

"Travellers should expect delays. Flights to major cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco and others could experience delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours because we have fewer staff," he said. "Delays in these major airports will ripple across the country," LaHood said, adding that the delays and cancellation probably could be experienced from April 1 onwards.

Sequester could result in a cut of $600 million for the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which runs the air traffic in the country, due to which a vast majority of its 47,000 employees would be furloughed one day per pay period until the end of the fiscal year.

"Cuts to budgets mean preventative maintenance and quick repair of runway equipment might not be possible, which could lead to more delays" LaHood said.

"Once airlines see the potential impact of these furloughs, we expect that they will change their schedules and cancel flights," he said.

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