The Washington Times - April 24, 2013, 11:58AM

The chief of the FAA told Congress today that Washington-area airports will largely escape the effects of the air traffic controller furloughs — a blessing for lawmakers who fly out of the nation’s capitol.

Michael Huerta, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, told a congressional panel that the Washington region’s airports are spaced out enough and have enough spare capacity that furloughs to air traffic controllers won’t hurt as much here.

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He also said Atlanta should escape major problems because the big airfield there has five runways, which makes it easier to space flights out.

That’s not the case in places like New York City, where several big airports are clustered together.

The furloughs of air traffic controllers — which the FAA said it had to do because of budget sequesters — has created delays at some airports. With fewer air traffic controllers, flights are being spaced out more, meaning planes depart their gates on time but can end up sitting on the runway for two hours awaiting clearance from the tower.