When the U.S. Congress returns from recess on Monday, there will be just five working days to avoid across-the-board sequestration cuts, and prospects appear dim for a compromise that would avert these federal budget cuts. The general aviation community is sizing up the possible effects of sequestration on everything from the FAA’s NextGen modernization program to the contract tower program, as well as the day-to-day operation of current air traffic control services and facilities.
“Without an agreement to avoid these budget cuts, the FAA will be forced to confront a budget reduction of approximately $627 million for this fiscal year,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. Most of the agency’s 47,000 employees would see furloughs of one day per pay period, and possibly two, until the current fiscal year ends on September 30, he said.
Huerta warned that staffing cutbacks at the FAA would also require a reduction in some operational services. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association said that, assuming cuts of almost 8.2 percent, the result could be the furloughing of between 2,000 and 2,200 controllers.