Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

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Update at 10:50 a.m. ET: Boeing to resume deliveries of 787s

Boeing, which had delivered about 50 of its new passenger aircraft before battery failures in January grounded the plane, says it will resume deliveries to airline customers in early May, The Associated Press reports.

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:

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved changes to the design of the Boeing 787's battery system — the first step toward returning the grounded aircraft to service.

The approximately 50 787 "Dreamliners" delivered to airlines worldwide were grounded in January after incidents involving overheating problems in lithium-ion batteries.

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.

The Federal Aviation Administration has decided to delay the closing of 149 airport control towers until mid-June.

The Obama administration said it needed to cut funding for the towers — mostly in small communities — because of $637 million in budget cuts mandated by law.

"This additional time will allow the agency to attempt to resolve multiple legal challenges to the closure decisions," the FAA said in a statement. "Extending the transition deadline will give the FAA and airports more time to execute the changes to the National Airspace System."

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Friday that it will close 149 air traffic control towers from April 7 due to budget constraints. The number announced is 40 fewer than the FAA originally planned to close. The cuts in service are part of the FAA's response to sequestration, as we reported in a recent story from Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Pa.:

Control towers at many small and medium-sized airports around the country are set to shut down next month because of the across-the-board federal budget cuts. The towers have been operated under contract to the Federal Aviation Administration.

One of the airports affected is in Latrobe, Pa., southeast of Pittsburgh — the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, named after the golf great who grew up a well-placed drive from the runway. A statue of Palmer watches over the small terminal.

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