The looming $1.2 billion federal sequestration could cut nearly 2 billion pounds of air cargo capacity out of the U.S. network, according to a new study.
Budget cuts to the Federal Aviation Administration could also hit nearly 132,000 aviation jobs and squelch up to $20 billion annually in economic activity through air operations, according to a study by the Aerospace Industries Association and Econsult Corporation, a research firm. The authors estimate the sequestration would result in $500 billion being cut from non-defense spending, which includes FAA funding.
"If sequestration is not stopped, it will be by far the most devastating budget cut to the FAA in its 54 years," said former Secretary of Transportation and Congressman Norman Mineta. "The FAA is a critical safety organization that regulates our national air transportation system. Putting it at risk is folly beyond comparison."
Aside from possibly shutting down 246 airport control towers, the sequestration could also cut 1,500 traffic controllers, 9,000 security screeners and 1,600 customers officers, according to a letter from Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., ranking minority member of the House Appropriations Committee. The dramatic cuts will take effect in roughly 140 days unless Congress addresses the deficit issue or delays the implementation of sequestration.