News / Economy

US Budget Impasse Could Affect Air Travel

US Budget Impasse Could Affect Air Traveli
X
March 12, 2013 10:43 PM
Early this month $85 billion in U.S. government spending cuts went into effect. The automatic budget reductions, known as the sequester, are hitting nearly every federal government agency and many employees are being furloughed -- forced to take days of unpaid leave beginning April 1. VOA's Chris Simkins reports on the impact the budget cuts will have on air travel and the aerospace industry.
Chris Simkins
Early this month $85 billion in U.S. government spending cuts went into effect.  The automatic budget reductions, known as the sequester, are hitting nearly every federal government agency and many employees are being furloughed - forced to take days of unpaid leave beginning April 1.

The budget cuts could have an impact on air travel and the aerospace industry. Flying in and out of U.S. airports could become a challenge, with delays on the ground and in the air.

The disruptions could begin when automatic government spending cuts hit the nation's aviation sector in April.  

"This is very painful for us because it involves our employees," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood. "But it is going to be very painful for the flying public."

The budget cuts mean there will be fewer workers and longer wait times for travelers clearing security and customs checkpoints, officials say.  The cuts also mean air traffic controllers will be forced to take unpaid days off.  Fewer controllers in the tower will impact flight operations at the nation's busiest airports like here in Washington.

Passengers cast shadows as they walk along a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, March 4, 2013.Passengers cast shadows as they walk along a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, March 4, 2013.
x
Passengers cast shadows as they walk along a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, March 4, 2013.
Passengers cast shadows as they walk along a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, March 4, 2013.
With fewer air traffic controllers to guide pilots, officials predict flight delays of up to 90 minutes at big airports.  

"We need to have a certain number of bodies there [in the control tower] and, if they mandate to us that that many people cannot be at work, we can't open those positions and we cannot move as many airplanes or as much traffic," said Matt Byrd, who represents the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

"We are going to have an effect throughout the national airspace," said Marion Blakey, president of the Aerospace Industries Association in Washington.  She says the cuts will also harm the U.S. aerospace defense industry.

"In 2013 and 2014 alone, if sequestration is allowed to stand, we are talking about the loss of over two million jobs," she said. "We are talking about a blow to the growth of our GDP [Gross Domestic Product] of two thirds percent. That's huge."

"Anything that disrupts air travel is disruptive of the economy," said Virginia Senator Tim Kane.  

Kane and other members of Congress are calling for an end to the spending cuts.  

Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes worries that reduced traffic at Baltimore's BWI Airport could mean a loss of 94,000 jobs.

"You are going to have to contract the economic activity of the airport in order to accommodate that ripple effect," he said. "That sort of slow roll that is going to begin to happen, that accumulates over time and then it does begin to affect the bottom line of business in the area."

Still - transportation officials say budget cuts to civil aviation will not compromise safety on the ground or in the skies.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7893
JPY
USD
107.68
GBP
USD
0.6238
CAD
USD
1.1214
INR
USD
61.185

Rates may not be current.