WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. airports, including Los Angeles
International and O'Hare International in Chicago, are already
experiencing delays in customs waiting lines as a result of automatic
federal spending cuts, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said
Both of those
big-city airports routinely suffer security line delays. The Federal
Aviation Administration reported Monday there were no significant flight
delays in either Los Angeles or Chicago.
who spoke at a Politico-sponsored event on the 10th anniversary of DHS,
said delays will become worse. The Transportation Security Administration
and Customs and Border Protection agencies, which are part of the Homeland
Security Department, are in the process of issuing furlough notices and
have cut overtime for employees.
CBP said in a
statement later Monday that weekend delays in Los Angeles and Chicago were
caused by "reduced primary booth staffing" because of cuts to overtime.
CBP said wait times for passengers on 56 arriving flights at John F.
Kennedy International in New York exceeded two hours, and passengers on 14
flights waited more than three hours. Delays at Miami International
Airport of more than two hours were reported for 51 flights, and
passengers from four flights experienced waits of about three hours. CBP
said such waits were longer than usual.
TSA, which is
responsible for screening passengers entering airports, said travelers can
expect longer security checkpoint lines as the agency reduces overtimes
and freezes hiring. TSA said in a statement that it expects to have about
1,000 vacancies by Memorial Day and as many as 2,600 by the end of the
budget year in September.
said she expects a cascading effect during the week, with wait times
expected to double in worst cases.