Could Sequester Delays Cost U.S. Jobs?

airlineNew data by FlightStats shows that in the wake of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) furloughs of air traffic controllers caused by the sequestration budget cuts, flight delays and cancellations are continuing to plague U.S. airports across the country. Cancellations rose from 207 flights Sunday, April 21 to 402 flights cancelled Wednesday, April 24, and delays rose from 4,842 on Sunday to 6,865 on Wednesday, FlightStats reports.

The U.S. Travel Association has weighed in on the situation with a report warning that the delays could wind up costing the U.S. economy $9 billion and 83,000 jobs. Based on the FAA’s previous estimates of a possible 6,700 flights delayed per day across the U.S., U.S. Travel’s economic model predicts:

-This level of ongoing flight delays could cost the U.S. $9.3 billion in lost economic output directly associated with travelers’ spending between April and October 1, when the new fiscal year begins.

-Total tax revenue losses would amount to $1.4 billion ($775 million to the federal government and $644 million to state and local governments).

-Worse, sequestration-related delays could jeopardize an estimated 83,400 American jobs.

-These estimates do not even include the operational costs borne by airlines.

“Travel has led U.S. economic recovery and supports one out of eight American jobs. Throttling this engine of growth by disrupting air travel makes no sense,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “We remain deeply concerned about predicted air travel delays, and we urge the FAA to insulate critical air traffic control personnel from sequestration-driven furloughs.

“We also urge Congress to enact a longer-term solution by swiftly passing legislation that ensures the smooth functioning of America’s vital air travel system. U.S. Travel supports the recently introduced bipartisan ‘Dependable Air Service Act of 2013’, led by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and the ‘Essential Services Act of 2013’ introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO).”

As part of its response to the expected air travel delays, last Friday U.S. Travel reactivated its mobile messaging campaign. Travelers can text “DELAYED” to 877-877 to receive easy-to-use instructions on how to share their opinions about travel delays with Members of Congress.

FlightStat’s full cancellation and delay data as of 6:00 a.m. EST April 14, 2013, is as follows:

    Wednesday, April 24 -  402 flights cancelled, 6,865 delays
    Tuesday, April 23 - 385 flights cancelled, 6,396 delays
    Monday, April 22 - 404 flights cancelled, 7,027 delays
    Sunday, April 21 - 207 flights cancelled, 4,842 delays

U.S. airports with the highest delay percentages, according to FlightStats, are:

ORD    Chicago, IL, US    35.99%
EWR    Newark, NJ, US    35.76%
DFW    Dallas, TX, US    31.96%
LGA    New York, NY, US    30.27%
JFK    New York, NY, US    30.06%
MDW    Chicago, IL, US    29.93%
LAS    Las Vegas, NV, US    29.71%
BWI    Baltimore, MD, US    29.22%
CVG    Cincinnati, OH, US    28.74%
SAN    San Diego, CA, US    28.38%

Visit www.ustravel.org or view a real-time map of airport delays at www.flightstats.com/go/Airport/currentAirportDelays.do