What the Sequestration Cuts Could Mean for the Travel Industry

The ongoing battle over federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, could adversely impact travelers and the travel industry.

washington dcThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported late Friday that it is preparing for the possibility of a budget sequestration on March 1, 2013.

The cuts in federal spending - expected if no budget deal is reached by the Obama Administration and Congress - could mean flight delays and impact business and leisure travelers.

The FAA said it is making plans to reduce its expenditures by approximately $600 million for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013.

Among the changes FAA said it is considering are furloughing the vast majority of its 47,000 employees for approximately one day per pay period. Also planned is 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, FAA said.

"All of these changes will be finalized as to scope and details through collaborative discussions with our users and our unions," FAA said. "We will begin furloughs and start facility shut-downs in April."

In a letter from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to airline associations, airports, unions and other groups they warned of 90 minute delays during peak periods in major cities such as New York, San Francisco and Chicago.

The officials also said they will seek to reduce the negative impact to travelers and promised further briefings to the industry.

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