As Sequestration Looms, GA Sizes Up Cuts to FAA

 - February 21, 2013, 3:45 PM

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.


Multiple sources have stated that the sequestration is only a cut in the anticipated/ budgeted increases, and that the net change in the total federal budget is an increase in 15 billion dollars in expenditures over last year. Therefore, I would like to see this article explicitly state the amount of money budgeted before and after to give the complete picture.

On the other hand, if the sequestration were expressed as a percentage of the total federal budget (3.7 trillion $), it would be on the order of 1.6%. How does this small percentage translate to $627 million dollars and 47000 furloughs in the FAA during this fiscal year? How about a reduction in salaries to make up the 1.6%? That would still be quite minor compared to what the private sector has gone through.

Could not express the ridiculousness, crisis fostering, and absurdity of this article any better than you.

As Rahm has often stated, "never let a good crisis go to waste"...even if completely manufactured.

Thank heavens we have the press to sort all of this out (he said in satire and parody, as "we the people" surely do not).

Look, you can blame the media all you want, but the media’s job is to report the news, not create it.

If you think this is made up news, then why did the FAA and DOT come out today and outline exactly how sequestration will affect the FAA? It certainly isn’t pretty–the plan includes closing 100 air traffic control towers at airports, eliminating overnight ATC services at 60 more and employee furloughs. Read our update at If you don’t think this will affect you, then you will soon have a rude wake-up call coming.


Give me a break, what we are talking about here is not a cut from todays spending at all. The cut is in future budgeted spending increases through the 2013 physical year. The total sequestration dollar amount we are talking about is about $88,000,000 out of a $3,700,000,000,000 budget. Half of this or $44,000,000,000. is a reduction in our defense budget. All other budget cuts (not spending cuts) will come out of all other federal spending. The administration through its departments will determine how the remaining $44,000,000,000 will be applied. This amounts to about a 1% decrease in planned spending increases. If this was your home budget you wouldn't even be considering an increase in spending unless you had automatic pay increases as federal employees do.

While the media "reports" the news, the White House is trying to create mass panic in order to get the public to flood their representatives with calls and mail and once again get their way. The media doesn't always help the situation even though they think they are only reporting the news. Do you really think that the Government is being honest and straighforward with the public right now? If so, report away. You are only helping their agenda to continue spending until we are completely bankrupt.

Does anyone really believe that, out of a 2% cut, they can't find anything else to cut besides services that will affect the general public like the FAA?

This is just US Politics at it's worst...

Regarding the sequester, as a pilot and business aviator, I was particularly struck by Secretary LaHood's remarks Friday as he rolled out his part of the administration's "Washington Monument" chicken little strategy. The sad part is that he is willing to sacrifice the safety of the flying public in an overt political move.

Let's do the math. $1 Billion in sequester cuts is 1.34% of the FY2013 DoT budget, which reflects a 2% increase over FY2012. The only substantial cuts in the budget was to the FAA, down 5%, or $730 million already, while increasing spending in surface transportation on highways and high speed rail. So, using the approved scare tactics strategy, Secretary LaHood proposes another $600 million in FAA cuts (60%), which has the highest number of employees - with many in ATC and Tower operations directly involved in a mission to protect the skies and make them safe. This administration continues it's war on business aviation and the economy with the sole purpose of scoring political points.

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