The FAA has also furloughed other critical employees including airline and airport safety inspectors.
The country's airlines and some lawmakers have suggested the White House is causing misery for fliers to put pressure on Republicans in Congress to rescind the cuts. They say the FAA is ignoring other ways to cut its $16 billion budget. Two airline trade associations and the nation's largest pilots union filed a lawsuit Friday asking the U.S. Court of Appeals to halt the furloughs. No hearing date has been set.
In a letter to the FAA Friday, Delta's general counsel Ben Hirst asked the agency to reconsider the furloughs, saying it could make the cuts elsewhere and could transfer funds from "non-safety activities" to support the FAA's "core mission of efficiently managing the nation's airspace."