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New report predicts significant job losses, flight delays and air traffic control tower closures if budget cuts are not reversed
AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey was joined by former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta and members of the civil aviation community on August 13 to launch a report revealing the negative consequences sequestration will have on the operations of the Federal Aviation Administration. The report, conducted by Econsult Corporation, gave a bleak outlook for the future of air transportation and highlighted the impact sequestration would have on civil aviation jobs, FAA operations and on the Next Generation Air Transportation System.
According to the study, the civil aviation industry may lose up to 132,000 jobs nationwide if Congress does not reverse sequestration before the automatic cuts kick in. Additionally, annual economic losses could amount to $80 billion annually by 2035 if NextGen improvements to the nation’s air transportation system are delayed well beyond their 2025 planned implementation date.
The report also predicts that sequestration will cause in 2013 the number of passenger enplanements to decrease from 730 million to between 657 million to 693 million. Transported air freight would similarly be reduced next year from 20 billion pounds to between 18 and 19 billion pounds. These trends would continue on an anual basis. Indeed, the forecasted loss in output to the U.S. economy is estimated to range anually from $9.2 to $18.4 billion, with $2.7 to $5.4 billion lost per year in wages and salaries.
“With proper funding the FAA can be both safe and efficient,” said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey. “Under sequestration, the air traffic control system will be hobbled for decades, leaving travelers, shippers and our economy in the lurch.”
Stephen P. Mullin, vice president and principal of Econsult Corporation and author of the study, gave further insight into the serious consequences the aviation industry is facing. “Sequestration would force the FAA to slash operations, bringing gridlock to the skies today, or defund modernization and infrastructure work, “he said. “The closer we study sequestration the more destructive it turns out to be.”
During a town hall-style discussion following the speakers’ remarks representatives from the aviation community had the opportunity to voice their concerns on the impeding cuts.
“Congress needs to act to avoid these devastating and indiscriminate cuts,” said Todd Hauptli, Senior Executive Vice President of the American Association of Airport Executives. “This study confirms that the entire aviation industry should be on high-alert in the weeks and months ahead as this process unfolds.”
Reminding attendees of the sobering consequences sequestration poses, Mineta commented, “If sequestration is not stopped, it will be by far the most devastating budget cut to the FAA in its 54 years. The FAA is a critical safety organization that regulates our national air transportation system. Putting it at risk is folly beyond comparison.”
This report is one of several that AIA’s Second to None budget education campaign has produced to provide data and analytics of how sequestration would impact the nation’s economy and the aerospace and defense industry. Please click here for full access to the press kit including the complete study, “Economic Impacts of FAA Budget Sequestration on the Economy,” press release, speaker bios and other materials.
AIA Source: ashley.gudzak[at]aia-aerospace.org