To prepare for the possibility of a budget sequestration on March 1, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is making plans to reduce its expenditures by approximately $600 million for the remainder of fiscal year 2013, the agency announced on Friday.
“Among the changes we are considering are furloughing the vast majority of our 47,000 employees for approximately one day per pay period; closing over 100 air traffic control facilities; eliminating the overnight shift at over 60 facilities; and reducing preventive maintenance and support for all air traffic control equipment,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a letter to the aviation community. “We will begin furloughs and start facility shutdowns in April."
“As a consequence of employee furloughs and prolonged equipment outages resulting from lower parts inventories and fewer technicians, travelers should expect delays,” LaHood and Huerta said. “Flights to major cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco could experience delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours because we will have fewer controllers on staff. All of these changes will be finalized as to scope and details through collaborative discussions with our users and our unions.”