THE BRONX - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will begin to furlough air traffic controllers today.

The mandatory leaves of absence could cause major delays at local airports of up to four hours. The FAA says the furloughs are part of government-wide spending cuts that took effect last month because Congress did not cut the budget deficit.

The furloughs will affect nearly 15,000 air traffic controllers nationwide.

National airline companies have asked a federal court to block the furloughs, but no decision has been made.