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FAA braces for sequestration, Huerta lays out plans to Congressional subcommittee

February 28, 2013, 01:43 pm

Michael Huerta, administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration, recently laid out plans to a Congressional subcommittee on how the administration will handle sequestration as it is set to go into effect March 1. After lawmakers passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, sequestration was put off until March 1, and as that date rapidly approaches, the FAA is bracing for its wide ranging impacts. 

Huerta said that the FAA will be forced to not hire any new employees, cut travel and require current employees to take furlough time. As the FAA accounts for more than 60 percent of the Department of Transportation's total budget, with the new plans, the administration is looking to shave $600 million from their spending. The FAA said that with its plans to deal with sequestration, $85 billion will be shaved from the budget in the first year. 

Republicans in the House and Senate indicated that the FAA is well suited to deal with sequestration.

"Before jumping to conclusions that furloughs must be implemented, the administration and the agency need to sharpen their pencils and consider all the options," said Sen. John Thune (R-SD), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Science and Transportation, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), chairman of its subcommittee on aviation.

Business travel will be hurt by sequestration
effects of sequestration will be felt at airports big and small, and some worry business travel will take a significant hit. Michael McCormick, executive director and COO of the Global Business Travel Association, said sequestration is bad news for the millions of business travelers each month who are looking to secure new business opportunities, maintain existing partnerships, increase profits for their companies and grow overall employment.

"The country is fast approaching the March 1 deadline for across-the-board cuts in every program, project, and agency in the federal government," McCormick said. "While the debate about the true impact on agency services rages, even the potential for significant disruptions in air travel is seriously disruptive to businesses.  Threatened reductions in air traffic controllers, customs clearance officers, and TSA officials staffing airport checkpoints risk long lines, system slow-downs, and general delays."

As there is a significant amount of uncertainty in how the aviation community will respond to sequestration, pilots are reminded to ensure their own financial futures are safe with pilot life insurance.

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