ATW Editor's Blog

Congress holds US air transportation system to ransom


It really is beyond belief that Congress has been allowed to get this far with its holding of the US air transportation system to ransom under the curious term "sequestration."

With FAA given no alternative but to implement a furlough system (unpaid, mandatory leave days) for its air traffic controllers, the inevitable impact was seen today at some of the USA's busiest airports, such as LAX, Miami and the New York airports.

FAA credited good weather and light traffic for helping to keep the majority of the US network flowing, but that was no comfort to those flight crews and passengers who experienced hours of unnecessary delay at key airports on the east and west coasts. And the sequestration-induced furloughs will have a domino effect the longer they continue.

Meanwhile, Congress sits on its butt and does nothing. Why? First, because it can. The US electorate is as apathetic as Congress is stubborn. And much of the electorate that  supports the far right's claim that it is doing the right thing by America to bring about "fiscal discipline" and "less government intervention" belongs to that RRR class - retired, remote and right about everything, even when they're wrong. Many of them have never traveled via any other method than their Ford pickup, Buick or Cadillac. They've never owned a passport and flight delays are not going to affect them one tiny bit.

So FAA and the ATC system is an easy victim for Congress to hold hostage. Even though the air transportation system is a driver of economic health and squelching it will  financially hurt not just those employed by the FAA, but everyone in the air transportation industry and ultimately everyone who has a job. And the air transportation system pays its way through government fees and taxes. Every passenger, meanwhile, brings something to the local economy, whether through business, tourism or visits to family and friends.

Air transport = jobs= economic growth

It's time to get angry. And time to furlough those in Congress who are not doing their job but who have no problem putting hard-working, dedicated Americans out of theirs.



Discuss this Blog Entry 3

on Apr 22, 2013

You nailed it, lady.

on Apr 23, 2013

The only hostage is the American people. The idea that an agency with the resources of the FAA can't cut 2.3 percent of it's budget without cutting it's "product," i.e., it's services, is nonsense. This is a ploy to end the sequester for all. A sizable amount of agencies with a higher percentage of overall personnel managed to meet their obligations without furloughs. They did it by cutting expenses, bonuses, travel and conferences. This is a disgrace.

on Apr 23, 2013

With all due respect, Ms. Walker, your analysis is completely wrong. The FAA cut personnel expenses due to inflexible budgeting rules. The House of Representatives offered the Obama administration greater budget flexibility in order to avoid this very occurrence. The administration refused, hoping, instead to use air traffic delays as a bludgeon to force the Congress to pass tax increases.

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