The chief of the FAA told Congress today that Washington-area airports will largely escape the effects of the air traffic controller furloughs — a blessing for lawmakers who fly out of the nation’s capitol.

Michael Huerta, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, told a congressional panel that the Washington region’s airports are spaced out enough and have enough spare capacity that furloughs to air traffic controllers won’t hurt as much here.

He also said Atlanta should escape major problems because the big airfield there has five runways, which makes it easier to space flights out.

That’s not the case in places like New York City, where several big airports are clustered together.