Air-Traffic Furloughs, Flight Delays Expected in Cuts

Automatic budget cuts would create flight delays as U.S. aviation regulators and air-traffic controllers take unpaid furloughs, a congressional report released today says.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration expects to furlough every employee for 11 days this year if automatic cuts go into effect on March 1, according to a report by House Appropriations Committee Democrats.

The FAA would have to cut funding of key operations by about $483 million, according to the report. In order to make up that deficit, as many as 10 percent of the FAA’s workers would be on furlough on any given day, it said.

The effect would be “reduced air-traffic control, longer delays and economic losses for air transportation, tourism and the economy as a whole,” according to the report.

Automatic cuts known as sequestration will take effect March 1 unless President Barack Obama and lawmakers can reach a budget agreement. The FAA would face total reductions of about $627 million for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, according to a letter to FAA employees from Administrator Michael Huerta. The agency has an annual budget of about $16 billion.

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