CONTACTS: Doug Church, 301-346-8245; Sarah Dunn, 315-796-1560
After just two days of furloughs for air traffic controllers, more than 10,000 flights have been delayed and more than 600 canceled. This is just the beginning of what promises to be a huge economic disruption if the furloughs are not stopped. As bad as delays have been, they could be even worse if the FAA were not taking extraordinary steps to cover for the controllers forced off the job.
The FAA has been forced to cancel all training, halt work on critical modernization and NextGen projects, and are even using overtime at some of the busiest facilities. This last decision is particularly concerning because the use of overtime pay is actually costing the FAA money, eliminating any savings that are supposedly being achieved for sequestration. It’s simple math - furloughing controllers earning base while paying others base pay plus an additional 50 percent will not result in savings.
This is no way to run the world’s safest, most efficient National Airspace System. Controllers continue to do their best every day to keep the system running. It’s time policy makers show the same amount of effort and dedication. A bipartisan solution to stop these furloughs must be reached and soon, in order to keep controllers on the job full time and America’s national airspace operating at full capacity.