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Flight Delays Expected In San Diego As Sequestration Cuts Take Effect

 American Airlines passengers wait in line at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, Illi...

Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images

Above: American Airlines passengers wait in line at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois.

Air traffic controllers began taking mandatory furloughs this week, which could cause flight delays of a few minutes to a few hours at major airports, including San Diego Lindbergh Field.

Mandatory furloughs kicked in this week for air traffic controllers, which could cause flight delays of a few minutes to a few hours at major airports, including San Diego Lindbergh Field.

The flight tracking web site Flightview.com reported 20 percent of flights out of San Diego were late or very late as of Monday afternoon. But San Diego airport officials say the delays were not related to furloughs.

The furloughs officially began on Sunday, but most delays were minor because air traffic was light and weather conditions were good, according to the FAA.

Today's busier schedule will likely be a better gauge of how furloughs will impact air travel.

The Department of Transportation was forced to cut $1 billion from its budget, with $637 million coming from the FAA's $16 billion budget.

Nearly 47,000 agency employees nationwide will be furloughed, including 15,000 controllers. Each employee will lose one day of work every other week.

Approximately 10 percent of controllers will be on furlough every day, according to FAA.

"Operations at any given airport are affected not only by that airport's control tower staffing but also by staffing at the nearest FAA approach control, which typically handles arrivals and departures from multiple airports within a given area. So controller staffing issues at the approach control will affect the flow into and out of nearby airports," said Ian Gregor, FAA public affairs manager, in released statement.

The FAA also plans to close control towers at 149 small airports on June 15, including San Diego's Brown Field and Ramona Airport.

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