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NATCA head says sequestration will cripple U.S. aviation

February 28, 2013  By Carey Fredericks

Feb. 28, 2013, Washington, D.C. - National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) president Paul Rinaldi warned Feb. 27 that the sequester will affect “every passenger, every general aviation pilot, and every freight hauler” and is “reckless” in its across-the-board nature and in not differentiating between essential and non-essential personnel.

Speaking at the monthly AeroClub of Washington luncheon just two days
before the automatic cuts kick in, Rinaldi said the FAA has little
flexibility to move money to avoid cuts to air traffic controllers.
Republicans have argued that the agency can cut back on other spending
and shift money around to avoid furloughs and delays.

“They have very limited, if any, discretion on what they can cut,”
Rinaldi said. “There just simply is not that much fat in the FAA
operations budget to cut.”

Sequestration will “reduce the capacity of the national airspace
system,” he continued because “every controller will have to take
between 11 and 22 days of furlough between April and September.”

The cuts could be “permanent and almost impossible to reverse,” Rinaldi
added. He also said that the impacts will be felt on April 7 because FAA
must give 30 days’ notice for employee furloughs and those notices will
not be sent until after the spending cuts have taken effect.


“Safety is our top priority and continues to be…” Rinaldi concluded,
“…but this budget environment can destroy everything we’ve gained in air
safety the last 100 years… we can’t let this happen.”


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