TAMPA - Straining the neck and squinting was a common sight all day at Tampa International Airport. Passengers watched as the red space on the board, indicating a delayed flight, seemed to grow.
Between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m., there were 29 departing flights and 20 arrivals delayed. The average delay time was 30 minutes, and the longest was three hours.
For passengers like Jon Beerbohm, flying out with three kids to Boston, the hour-long delay was an added challenge to deal with. "Hopefully we have enough juice in our IPads and IPhones to keep them busy," he said.
Airport officials would not say the delays were caused by the furlough of air traffic controllers across the country because of sequester and budget cuts. They would say it could be that, along with weather.
For Governor Rick Scott, there is no doubt what the problem is.
The Governor maintains that any delays caused by budget cuts, is just bad for Florida. "It's going to impact people's interest in coming to our state because of these delays," he would say at a scheduled news conference at Tampa International. "It's going to impact business in our state. It's absolutely the wrong thing to do."
Governor Scott believes furloughing air traffic controllers will cause delays, hurt business and ultimately cost jobs, with the state losing as much as $19 million a year.
For their part, the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority would not fire a shot in the political battle. John Tiliacos with the Aviation Authority said, "I'll let the experts decide" if there is a better way to go about the budget cuts.
The experts are everyone that travels through Tampa International, like Christie Cob whose flight had been delayed over an hour. "I'm disappointed, but it will be fine, I think. It makes me get home a little later than expected."
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