Blame shifting was in high gear Tuesday on Capitol Hill and at the White House as the first air traffic delays tied to the furloughs of Federal Aviation Administration controllers began to get attention.
The Republicans' message: Delays at some airports this week — a result of automatic spending cuts known as the sequester that took effect in March, but whose resulting furloughs are just kicking in — was a "manufactured crisis," and that the administration wants voters angry enough to force Congress to give President Obama the higher taxes he seeks.
Many airline passengers saw only moderate flight delays stemming from the first full day of furloughs for nearly 15,000 flight controllers and other Federal Aviation Administration workers, as industry analysts' worst fears did not materialize. But the reduced staffing was blamed for some slowdowns, and observers say it also increased the length of unrelated delays.
We'll be keeping an eye on possible delays today, and updating this post with new information.
Update at 6:45 p.m. ET. Delays Build, Tied To Weather And Furloughs:
American Airlines has promised passengers that Wednesday's flight schedule will be nothing like the day before, when thousands were stranded due to a glitch in the reservations system that forced hundreds of flights to be canceled or delayed.
American Airlines and American Eagle scuttled 970 flights and delayed more than 1,000 others Tuesday, The Associated Press said, citing flight-tracking service FlightAware.com.
Federal aviation officials have ordered that more than 1,000 Boeing 737s be examined to see if a key part on the plane's tail section needs to be replaced, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued the airworthiness directive for a pin that holds the 737's horizontal stabilizer to the rest of the tail, to see if it is in danger of failing prematurely. The horizontal stabilizer — also known as the tail plane — enables the pilot to control the aircraft's pitch.