Looming Sequester Impacts Remain Uncertain
As all sectors of government scrambled this week to figure out how to operate under the new rules imposed by sequestration, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association said on Tuesday the FAA intends to send furlough notices to all of its employees. "This means that beginning in a month, there will be fewer air traffic controllers in towers and radar rooms helping our national airspace work," NATCA said in a news release. "Consequently, fewer flights will be able to take off and land … Worse, the FAA intends to close many towers." The new federal rules will require $600 million in cuts at the FAA.
Exactly how the sequestration rules will take effect, and when, remains unclear. Government agencies are scrambling this week to find places to cut, and the FAA has not yet made any official announcements. Dozens of towers across the country could be closed, and failed navaids may not be repaired. Even the meaning of the "furlough notices" is vague -- it could mean cutting workers hours by two days per month, or it could mean actual layoffs.