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Monday, September 30, 2013

Air Traffic Controllers to Staff Towers if Shutdown Occurs

Woodrow Bellamy III

Department of Transportation (DoT) agencies, including FAA, would be hit hard by a potential federal government shutdown. However, aircraft will continue to fly and air traffic control towers will continue to be staffed.
 
 
DOT provisions regarding the shutdown were released Friday in a report titled "operations during a lapse in annual appropriations." The plan calls for FAA, DOT's largest subsidiary, to temporarily reduce its workforce from 46,070 employees to 30,556 until Congress and the president can agree upon a 2014 fiscal year spending bill. 
 
 
The agency was heavily criticized by industry trade groups and lawmakers earlier this year when it furloughed air traffic controllers earlier this year after its 2013 operating budget was reduced by $637 million due to sequestration. The furloughs lead to nearly 1,000 flight delays per day over a two week period. 
 
 
Airport screeners are also among the Transportation Department employees who would be exempt from furloughs. 
 
 
FAA will delay all aircraft certification depending on the length of the shutdown, as aircraft certification workers are among the more than 15,000 employees who will be furloughed. 
 
 
In 2011, FAA was partially shut down due to budgeting issues, when lawmakers could not agree on whether to cut $16 million in air service subsidies. During that shutdown more than 200 construction projects were halted, though air traffic controllers remained on the job. 

 

DOT's full post-shutdown operations plan can be viewed here

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