By Keith Laing - 04/24/13 09:32 PM EDT
Dow called for the FAA to find other ways to make its budget cuts that do not result in flights being delayed.
"We remain deeply concerned about predicted air travel delays, and we urge the FAA to insulate critical air traffic control personnel from sequestration-driven furloughs," he said.
FAA officials say they have no choice but to furlough air traffic controllers because they are required to cut their budget by $600 million under the sequester. The agency has about 15,000 air traffic controllers out of a total workforce of 47,000.
Republicans in Congress have argued that the Obama administration is purposefully trying to inconvenience airline passengers with flight delays to score political points in the fight over the sequester.
The across-the-board budget cuts that have come to be known as sequestration are the result of the inability of Congress and the White House to reach a deal on a budget for the year. The cuts were put in place in 2011 to force lawmakers to compromise, but the White House insisted on raising taxes in a new budget deal, and Republicans refused to consider any increases.
The FAA said that 1,025 flights were delayed because of sequestration furloughs on Tuesday, after reporting 1,200 sequester-related delays on Monday.
The agency said another 975 flights were delayed on Tuesday because of weather and other issues.
The FAA says that it will have to operate with a staff reduced by about 10 percent from now until September because of the sequester.
The agency has instituted a "traffic management" plan that calls for holding some flights that would otherwise be cleared to take off or land to deal with the staffing reductions.