The FAA says the extra two months will allow the agency to attempt to resolve "multiple legal challenges to the closure decisions." Extending the transition deadline, the FAA says, "will give the agency and airports more time to execute changes to the National Airspace System."
"This has been a complex process, and we need to get this right," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, "Safety is our top priority. We will use this additional time to make sure communities and pilots understand the changes at their local airports."
The agency will also furlough 47,000 employees for as many as 11 days over the next several months. The impact on air safety and efficiency will be felt more strongly in smaller markets not funded through protected grants.