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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9211
JPY
USD
119.18
GBP
USD
0.6722
CAD
USD
1.2509
INR
USD
62.518

Rates may not be current.