The nation’s sequestration took effect last weekend and some areas were hit harder than others. For example, lawmakers were forced to cut office budgets. Education, social services and housing experienced deep cuts, too.
Most organizations that use private plane business aviation are small and mid-sized companies, universities, government and charitable organizations. But despite a potential decline in customer use, business aviation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) won’t see many setbacks due to the budget cuts. In fact, most of the FAA’s budget will be exempt from the sequester. Funds that maintain and improve airport runways and other infrastructure will go untouched, as will research programs.
But because the budget in those areas will go unharmed, the FAA has to reduce its funding to its Operations budget, which includes: the scheduling of personnel, like air traffic controllers, flight facility technicians and other agency employees; the contract work being performed for the FAA; and the preventative maintenance and repair work provided to facilities and services used by the agency and its customers in the aviation community.
Safety will be enforced despite the Operations funding cuts. But the agency’s day-to-day operations will be impacted and here’s how:
- Employees will take a leave of absence one day every two weeks starting in April and continuing until at least the end of the government’s fiscal year on September 30. Air Traffic Control facility managers will have scheduling flexibility to hopefully avoid any problems.
- The FAA will focus contract work on the air traffic control towers managed under the Federal Contract Tower Program.
Locally here in Connecticut, six airports may lose all their air traffic controllers as a result of the $85 billion in automatic federal budget cuts. The FAA told Connecticut officials that federal funding for the air traffic control towers at the six airports may be terminated April 7 because of the automatic spending cuts.
Members of the congressional delegation are worried about airport safety, employees losing their jobs and the budget cut’s effect on airport-related businesses.
But according to this article by the New York Times, flights have been running as usual.
The FAA said it will deal with sequester-related issues in a timely manner. Meanwhile, the National Business Aviation Association will work with all aviation stakeholders, like the private plane business, to help ensure that the aviation system functions at an optimal level even under these challenging circumstances.