Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) today said he may hold up the nomination of Robert Sturgell to be administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration until he's satisfied with the agency's repsonse to questions he's raised about the airspace redesign plan.

The nomination of Sturgell, who was named acting administrator in October, won't be considered until late January, at the earliest, by the Senate Commerce Committee, and could be held up indefintely at his request, Menendez said.

He and U.S. Reps. Rob Andrews (D., N.J.) and Joe Sestak (D., Pa.) complained at a joint news conference that the FAA had reneged on public statements that they wouldn't start using new routes for planes taking off from the Philadelphia and Newark airports until next summer.

Over the protests of the lawmakers and others, the FAA yesterday started using the new routes, which take departing flights over areas of Delaware County that haven't seen much air traffic before.