The newsrooms are a buzz with the information that was just released from the Federal Aviation Administration on the potential impacts of the Sequestration. Sequestration is the name given to the draconian cuts that are going to rip apart the government and our economy at the same time.
Today Department of Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, released a letter to the aviation community highlighting the impacts.
1. Furloughs of 11-22 days between April and Oct 1st for all 47,000 FAA Employees.
2. Eliminate midshifts at 60 towers across the country
3. Close over 100 air traffic control towers (link to potential closure list)
4. Reduce preventative maintenance and equipment provisioning and support for all National Airspace System equipment.
These impacts will create massive delays for air travelers, and any business that relies on aviation to move their people or product. Aviation contributes $1.3 Trillion to the national economy. With over 70,000 operations every single day and 130 million operations annually, the FAA oversees all of them.
Sec. Lahood also points out that flights to the major airports, JFK, IAD, SFO, LAX could see delays of 90 minutes or more durning peak times. Those delays will only create more waves throughout the system as gridlock sets in.
The President of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Paul Rinaldi, had this to say after hearing the news.
“Today’s announcement from the FAA unfortunately confirms the concerns we have been warning about for months – sequestration will significantly and perhaps permanently undermine the capacity of the National Airspace System. The fact that they will not just be furloughing critical FAA personnel but closing air traffic control towers means the system will be even more compromised than anticipated. We share the FAA’s commitment to preserving the safety of the system despite these draconian cuts. Safety is always the top priority of air traffic controllers, but the reality is this – safety will be preserved at the expense of operations across the country. Once towers are closed, the airports they serve may be next. Additionally, we believe the delay estimates provided by the FAA are conservative and the potential for disruptions could be much higher.
“Every one of these actions by the FAA will have an impact far beyond inconveniencing travelers. Local economies will be diminished, military exercises will be cancelled and jobs will be lost. There’s no telling how long these effects will be felt because many of these service reductions may not be reversed. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association continues to urge the nation’s policy-makers to find a solution that prevents or mitigates the impact of sequestration in a way that does not diminish the world’s safest and most efficient national airspace system.”
These 47,000 FAA Employees are real people. They have families, children, and mortgages. Like many Americans, they probably cannot afford to be forced out of work for an entire month without pay. Yet this is what Congress is forcing them to do.
We must take action now to stop these draconian cuts from every happening. Call your elected Representative and tell them to stop this now! Call your Senator. Call the White House. Tell them all that these cuts are hurting hard working families throughout the country. Tell them how these cuts are going to directly effect you.
Congress created these Sequestration cuts and they can take them away. It is time to stop playing chicken with our economy and the lives of millions of federal employees and their families. End the sequestration now, while you still can!