NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – If the federal budget cuts known as the sequester have not affected you yet, the $637 million trimming of the Federal Aviation Administration budget might change that.
As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, delays at the airport as a result of air traffic control cuts taking effect Sunday may give a whole new meaning to the term “terminal.”
Fewer people on duty in the air traffic control towers will mean fewer planes in the air – making more travelers have to hang around the terminal longer. The slowdown will hit the Tri-State Area’s three main airports and every other one in the country, with the sequester having sharpened the spending scythe in Washington.
Under the budget cuts, air traffic controllers will have to take one day every other week without pay until the end of September.
The furloughs for employees of the Federal Aviation Administration mean one in three passengers nationwide could face delays.
And the FAA has issued its predictions for the average expected delays at New York area airports because of the cutbacks – 20-minute delays at Newark Liberty International Airport, and 30 minutes expected at LaGuardia Airport, but just 12 minutes here at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“I can’t imagine it getting any more delayed at LaGuardia,” flier Bob Bennett told CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell. “Just an incredibly difficult airport because of the congestion.”
The $637 million budget reduction to the FAA is due to take effect as part of the across the board spending cuts that began in March.
Congress failed to act to prevent $85 billion in cuts from taking hold.
About 50,000 FAA employees including 15,000 air traffic controllers are affected in all. And U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is not happy about it.
“New York State, under sequester, is supposed to lose about 60 to 80 air traffic controllers each day,” he said.