FAA sequester cuts mean fewer flights, longer delays in upcoming summer travel season
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood warned Congress that sequestration would force the Federal Aviation Administration to furlough air traffic controllers and safety technicians, resulting in fewer flights and longer delays this summer travel season.
Faced with a $600 million shortfall, the FAA plans to place 47,000 employees on unpaid leaves for up to 14 days this fiscal year if Congress and the White House don’t avert sequestration by March 1.
“The furlough of a large number of air traffic controllers and technicians will require a reduction in air traffic to a level that can be safely managed by the remaining staff. The result will be felt across the country, as the volume of travel must be decreased,” LaHood wrote to the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Sequestration could slow air traffic levels in major cities, which will result in delays and disruptions across the country during the critical summer travel season.”
Not only would the furloughs be inconvenient for travelers, it would cause significant delays to FAA’s safety approval and certification process for airlines, aviation manufacturers, and individual pilots.
“A slowed certification and approval process due to furloughs could negatively affect all segments of the aviation industry,” LaHood warned. “Civil aviation contributes 10 million jobs and $1.3 trillion annually to the U.S. economy and sequestration places this contribution in jeopardy.”
- Senate Appropriations Committee: Letter on the impacts of sequestration from the Department of Transportation – Feb. 2013 (PDF)
- WhatTheFolly.com: 5 key facts about sequestration
- WhatTheFolly.com: Analysis: Impact of sequestration on non-defense discretionary spending