WASHINGTON -- Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned Friday of massive delays in flights and the closing of 100 smaller air-traffic control towers as part of automatic spending cuts scheduled March 1.
Because of furloughs for air-traffic controllers, LaHood said flights from New York to San Francisco could be delayed 90 minutes. He says once airlines understand how flights are delayed, they will begin canceling flights.
He said the control towers at the 100 smallest airports will be closed, from a list including those in Boca Raton, Fla., Joplin, Mo., and Hilton Head, S.C.
In Metro Atlanta, the closures include Ben Epps Airport in Athens, Charlie Brown Field on Atlanta's West Side, Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville and McCollum Field in Kennesaw. In addition, airport towers in Albany, Columbus and Macon are on the list.
"These are harmful cuts with real-world consequences that will cost jobs and hurt the economy," LaHood said from the White House briefing room.
LaHood, a former Republican member of Congress, urged lawmakers to approve a compromise for $85 billion in spending cuts that are scheduled to hit every agency March 1. Republican lawmakers have opposed President Obama's proposal to close tax loopholes in combination with targeted spending cuts to avoid the across-the-board spending cuts.
The full effect of flight delays and cancellations will be felt by April 1, LaHood said.
LaHood had warned lawmakers that Federal Aviation Administration workers would face furloughs of one day every two weeks through the end of September. But his comments Friday escalated the severity of warnings about what will happen.
LaHood says discussions were starting Friday with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association to eliminate midnight shift duty at 60 airports across the country.
Paul Rinaldi, the union president, said furloughs coupled with closing towers "means the system will be even more compromised than anticipated." He also said estimates on flight delays "are conservative and the potential for disruptions could be much higher."
"We share the FAA's commitment to preserving the safety of the system despite these draconian cuts," Rinaldi said.
Jean Medina, spokeswoman for the trade group Airlines for America, said airlines are eager to meet soon with FAA to plan for cutbacks. She said the proposals seem to share their goal of affecting as few travelers as possible. But she urged lawmakers and the administration to ensure that 2 million travelers and 50,000 tons of cargo that fly every day will continue.
"Air transportation is a key driver of our economy and should not be used as a political football," Medina said.
LaHood said members of Congress should expect a backlash from the traveling public.
"Their phones are going to start ringing," LaHood says of lawmakers hearing from travelers. "Nobody likes a delay. Nobody likes waiting in line."
LaHood said safety remains the department's top priority. But because of staffing fewer air-traffic controllers, he says flights will be delayed and reduced.
"We don't have to have this kind of calamity in air service in America," LaHood said.
The Transportation Department plans to close air-traffic control towers at 100 airports that have 150,000 flights or fewer each year, if automatic spending cuts go into effect as scheduled March 1. Decisions on which ones will be closed will come out of meetings the FAA has with air-traffic controllers and airlines.
Following is a list of 200 airports from which the department says it will select 100 whose towers will be closed by April 1.
BFM Mobile Downtown Mobile, Ala.
DHN Dothan Regional Dothan, Ala.
TCL Tuscaloosa Regional Tuscaloosa, Ala.
ASG Springdale Municipal Springdale, Ark.
FSM Fort Smith Tower Fort Smith, Ark.
FYV Drake Field Fayetteville, Ark.
ROG Rogers Municipal-Carter Field Rogers, Ark.
TXK Texarkana Regional-Webb Field Texarkana, Ark.
GEU Glendale Municipal Glendale, Ariz.
GYR Phoenix Goodyear Goodyear, Ariz.
IFP Laughlin/Bullhead International Bullhead City, Ariz.
RYN Ryan Field Tucson, Ariz.
APC Napa Tower Napa, Calif.
CCR Concord Tower Concord, Calif.
CMA Camarillo Tower Camarillo, Calif.
EMT El Monte Tower El Monte, Calif.
FUL Fullerton Municipal Fullerton, Calif.
HHR Jack Northrop Field/Hawthorne Municipal Hawthorne, Calif.
LVK Livermore Tower Livermore, Calif.
MER Castle Atwater, Calif.
OXR Oxnard Oxnard, Calif.
PMD Palmdale Regional/USAF Plant 42 Palmdale, Calif.
POC Brackett Tower La Verne, Calif.
RAL Riverside Municipal Riverside, Calif.
RNM Ramona Ramona, Calif.
SAC Sacramento Executive Sacramento, Calif.
SCK Stockton Tower Stockton, Calif.
SDM Brown Field Municipal San Diego, Calif.
SMO Santa Monica Tower Santa Monica, Calif.
SNS Salinas Municipal Salinas, Calif.
SQL San Carlos San Carlos, Calif.
STS Charles M. Schultz-Sonoma County Santa Rosa, Calif.
VCV Southern California Logistics Victorville, Calif.
WHP Whiteman Los Angeles, Calif.
WJF General William J. Fox Airfield Lancaster, Calif.
BJC Broomfield Tower Westminster, Colo.
FTG Front Range Denver, Colo.
BDR Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Bridgeport, Conn.
DXR Danbury Municipal Danbury, Conn.
GON Groton-New London Groton (New London), Conn.
HFD Hartford-Brainard Hartford, Conn.
HVN Tweed-New Haven New Haven, Conn.
OXC Waterbury-Oxford Oxford, Conn.
ILG Wilmington Tower New Castle, Del.
APF Naples Municipal Naples, Fla.
BCT Boca Raton Boca Raton, Fla.
CRG Craig Municipal Jacksonville, Fla.
EVB New Smyrna Beach Municipal New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
FMY Page Field Fort Myers, Fla.
FPR St. Lucie County International Fort Pierce, Fla.
HWO North Perry Hollywood, Fla.
ISM Kissimmee Gateway Orlando, Fla.
LAL Lakeland Linder Regional Lakeland, Fla.
LEE Leesburg International Leesburg, Fla.
OCF Ocala International-Jim Taylor Field Ocala, Fla.
OMN Ormond Beach Municipal Ormond Beach, Fla.
OPF Opa-Locka Executive Miami, Fla.
ORL Orlando Executive Orlando, Fla.
PGD Punta Gorda Punta Gorda, Fla.
SGJ Northeast Florida Regional St. Augustine, Fla.
SPG Albert Whitted St. Petersburg, Fla.
SUA Witham Field Stuart, Fla.
TIX Space Coast Regional Titusville, Fla.
VQQ Cecil Jacksonville, Fla.
ABY Southwest Georgia Regional Albany, Ga.
AHN Athens-Ben Epps Athens, Ga.
CSG Columbus Metropolitan Columbus, Ga.
FTY Fulton County-Brown Field Atlanta
LZU Gwinnett County-Briscoe Field Lawrenceville, Ga.
MCN Middle Georgia Regional Macon, Ga.
RYY Cobb County-McCollum Field Atlanta
JRF Kalaeloa (John Rodgers Field) Kapolei, Hawaii
ALO Waterloo Tower Waterloo, Iowa
DBQ Dubuque Regional Dubuque, Iowa
SUX Sioux Gateway Sioux City, Iowa
IDA Idaho Falls Regional Idaho Falls, Idaho
LWS Lewiston-Nez Perce County Lewiston, Idaho
PIH Pocatello Regional Pocatello, Idaho
SUN Friedman Memorial Hailey, Idaho
TWF Joslin Field-Magic Valley Regional Twin Falls, Idaho
ALN St. Louis Regional Alton/St. Louis, Ill.
ARR Aurora Tower Sugar Grove, Ill
BMI Central Illinois Regional at Bloomington-Normal Bloomington-Normal, Ill.
DEC Decatur Decatur, Ill.
DPA Dupage West Chicago, Ill.
MDH Southern Illinois Carbondale/Murphysboro, Ill.
MWA Williamson County Regional Marion, Ill.
SPI Springfield Tower Springfield, Ill.
UGN Waukegan Regional Chicago/Waukegan, Ill.
BAK Columbus Municipal Columbus, Ind.
BMG Monroe County Bloomington, Ind.
GYY Gary/Chicago International Gary, Ind.
HUF Terre Haute International-Hulman Field Terra Haute, Ind.
LAF Lafayette Tower West Lafayette, Ind.
MIE Delaware County Regional Muncie, Ind.
FOE Forbes Field Topeka, Kan.
GCK Garden City Regional Garden City, Kan.
HUT Hutchinson Municipal Hutchinson, Kan.
IXD New Century AirCenter Olathe, Kan.
MHK Manhattan Regional Manhattan, Kan.
OJC Johnson County Executive Olathe, Kan.
TOP Philip Billard Municipal Topeka, Kan.
LOU Bowman Tower Louisville, Ky.
OWB Owensboro-Daviess County Owensboro, Ky.
PAH Barkley Regional Paducah, Ky.
CWF Chennault International Lake Charles, La.
DTN Shreveport Downtown Shreveport, La.
LCH Lake Charles Regional Lake Charles, La.
MLU Monroe Regional Monroe, La.
NEW Lakefront New Orleans
BAF Barnes Municipal Westfield/Springfield, Mass.
BVY Beverly Municipal Beverly, Mass.
EWB New Bedford Regional New Bedford, Mass.
LWM Lawrence Municipal Lawrence, Mass.
ORH Worcester Regional Worcester, Mass.
OWD Norwood Memorial Norwood, Mass.
ESN Easton/Newnam Field Easton, Md.
FDK Frederick Municipal Frederick, Md.
HGR Hagerstown Regional-Richard A. Henson Field Hagerstown, Md.
MTN Martin State Baltimore, Md.
SBY Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Salisbury, Md.
ARB Ann Arbor Municipal Ann Arbor, Mich.
BTL W.K. Kellogg Battle Creek, Mich.
DET Coleman A. Young Municipal Detroit
JXN Jackson County-Reynolds Field Jackson, Mich.
MKG Muskegon County Muskegon, Mich.
SAW Sawyer International Marquette, Mich.
ANE Anoka County-Blaine Airport (Janes Field) Minneapolis
FCM Flying Cloud Eden Prairie, Minn.
MIC Crystal Tower Crystal, Minn.
STC St. Cloud Regional St. Cloud, Minn.
BBG Branson Branson, Mo.
COU Columbia Regional Columbia, Mo.
JEF Jefferson City Memorial Jefferson City, Mo.
JLN Joplin Regional Joplin, Mo.
STJ Rosecrans Memorial St. Joseph, Mo.
GLH Mid Delta Regional Greenville, Miss.
GTR Golden Triangle Regional Columbus/West Point/Starkville, Miss.
HKS Hawkins Field Jackson, Miss.
HSA Stennis International Bay St. Louis, Miss.
MEI Key Field Meridian, Miss.
OLV Olive Branch Olive Branch, Miss.
TUP Tupelo Regional Tupelo, Miss.
GPI Glacier Park International Kalispell, Mont.
HLN Helena Regional Helena, Mont.
EWN Coastal Carolina Regional New Bern, N.C.
HKY Hickory Regional Hickory, N.C.
INT Smith Reynolds Winston Salem, N.C.
ISO Kinston Regional Jetport at Stallings Field Kinston, N.C.
JQF Concord Regional Concord, N.C.
GRI Central Nebraska Regional Grand Island, Neb.
ASH Boire Field Nashua, N.H.
CDW Essex County Fairfield, N.J.
TTN Trenton Mercer Trenton, N.J.
AEG Double Eagle II Albuquerque, N.M.
HOB Lea County Regional Hobbs, N.M.
ROW Roswell International Air Center Roswell, N.M.
SAF Santa Fe Municipal Santa Fe, N.M.
BGM Binghamton Tower Johnson City, N.Y.
FOK Francis S. Gabreski Westhampton Beach, N.Y.
IAG Niagara Falls International Niagara Falls, N.Y.
ITH Ithaca Tomkins Regional Ithaca, N.Y.
POU Dutchess County Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
RME Griffiss International Rome, N.Y.
CGF Cuyahoga County Cleveland
MFD Mansfield Tower Mansfield, Ohio
OSU Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio
TZR Bolton Field Columbus, Ohio
YNG Youngstown-Warren Regional Vienna, Ohio
ADM Ardmore Municipal Ardmore, Okla.
LAW Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Lawton, Okla.
OUN University of Oklahoma Westheimer Norman, Okla.
PWA Wiley Post Oklahoma City, Okla.
SWO Stillwater Regional Stillwater, Okla.
WDG Enid Wooding Regional Enid, Okla.
LMT Klamath Falls Klamath Falls, Ore.
OTH Southwest Oregon Regional North Bend, Ore.
PDT Eastern Oregon Regional at Pendleton Pendleton, Ore.
SLE McNary Field Salem, Ore.
TTD Portland-Troutdale Portland, Ore.
CXY Capital City Harrisburg, Pa.
IPT Williamsport Regional Williamsport, Pa.
LBE Arnold Palmer Regional Latrobe, Pa.
LNS Lancaster Lancaster, Pa.
PNE Northeast Philadelphia Philadelphia
RDG Reading Regional-Carl A. Spaatz Field Reading, Pa.
CRE Grand Strand North Myrtle Beach, S.C.
FLO Florence Regional Florence, S.C.
GYH Donaldson Center Greenville, S.C.
HXD Hilton Head Hilton Head Island, S.C.
MKL McKellar-Sipes Regional Jackson, Tenn.
MQY Smyrna Smyrna, Tenn.
NQA Millington Regional Jetport Millington, Tenn.
ACT Waco Regional Waco, Texas
BAZ New Braunfels Municipal New Braunfels, Texas
BPT Jack Brooks Regional Beaumont, Texas
BRO Brownsville/South Padre Island International Brownsville, Texas
CLL Easterwood Field College Station, Texas
CNW TSTC Waco Waco, Texas
CXO Lone Star Executive Houston
FWS Fort Worth Spinks Fort Worth, Texas
GGG East Texas Regional Longview, Texas
GKY Arlington Municipal Arlington, Texas
GPM Grand Prairie Municipal Grand Prairie, Texas
GTU Georgetown Municipal Georgetown, Texas
HYI San Marcos Municipal San Marcos, Texas
RBD Dallas Executive Dallas
SGR Sugar Land Regional Houston
SSF Stinson Municipal San Antonio
TKI Collin County Regional at McKinney Dallas
TYR Tyler Pounds Regional Tyler, Texas
VCT Victoria Regional Victoria, Texas
OGD Ogden-Hinckley Ogden, Utah
PVU Provo Municipal Provo, Utah
HEF Manassas Regional/Harry P. Davis Field Manassas, Va.
LYH Lynchburg Regional/Preston Glenn Field Lynchburg, Va.
ALW Walla Walla Regional Walla Walla, Wash.
MWH Grant County International Moses Lake, Wash.
OLM Olympia Regional Olympia, Wash.
PAE Snohomish County Airport (Paine Field) Everett, Wash.
RNT Renton Municipal Renton, Wash.
SFF Felts Field Spokane, Wash.
TIW Tacoma Narrows Tacoma, Wash.
YKM Yakima Air Terminal/McAllister Field Yakima, Wash.
CWA Central Wisconsin Mosinee, Wis.
EAU Chippewa Valley Regional Eau Claire, Wis.
ENW Kenosha Regional Kenosha, Wis.
JVL Southern Wisconsin Regional Janesville, Wis.
LSE La Crosse Municipal La Crosse, Wis.
MWC Lawrence J. Timmerman Milwaukie, Wis.
OSH Wittman Regional Oshkosh, Wis.
UES Waukesha County Waukesha, Wis.
CKB North Central West Virginia Bridgeport, W.Va.
HLG Wheeling Ohio County Wheeling, W.Va.
HTS Tri-State Milton J. Ferguson Field Huntington, W.Va.
LWB Greenbrier Valley Lewisburg, W.Va.
PKB Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Parkersburg, W.Va.
CYS Cheyenne Regional/Jerry Olson Field Cheyenne, Wyo.