Will It Be a ‘Fiscal Cliff’ or a Ski Jump?

 - December 20, 2012, 3:10 PM

While House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) spent yesterday rounding up Republican votes for a plan to extend tax cuts on incomes up to $1 million to forestall the fiscal cliff, the Baltimore-based aviation consulting group AirInsight believes that at worst there will be a “soft landing.” The company said it expects Congress and President Obama to reach a deal early next month, retroactive to January 1.

“Politicians love to use fear as a major weapon to sway public opinion, and sequestration is not going to result in the FAA firing air traffic controllers en masse or stopping new development programs,” AirInsight said. “What it will require, however, is that the government sector starts to watch expenditures in the same way private sector companies do, and pay closer attention to budgets.”

The concerns are that cuts to the budget, both Defense Department and non-DOD, could affect the commercial side of aviation. One scenario laid out by Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, is that air traffic control services could be slashed by $800 million and that the FAA would lose an many as 2,200 air traffic controllers.