By JOAN LOWY
WASHINGTON (AP) - Air traffic controllers are warning that automatic spending cuts could force some of the nation's busiest airports to close runways, causing widespread flight delays and cancellations.
A report released Wednesday by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association predicts Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport will be forced to close 1 of its three runways because furloughs of controllers will leave too few to handle planes.
Instead of 126 landings per hour, there would be only 96 landings per hour, the report said. Hartsfield handles more passengers than any other airport in the world. The report said Houston's Intercontinental and Chicago's O'Hare airports may also have to close runways.
The spending cuts are scheduled to go into effect on Friday, but furloughs won't kick in until April.
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