Aviation industry groups predicts cutbacks if Congress can’t agree on deficit reduction
Airline traffic could be reduced, and airports like Logan International Airport in Boston would be forced to cut services, if Congress can’t agree on a deficit-reduction plan by January 2, according to a new report.
On Monday the Aerospace Industries Association, an industry group based in Arlington, Virginia, released a report that predicted that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s $15.9 billion budget would be cut by $1 billion a year, a 6.3 percent reduction from current levels.
The cuts, known as sequestration, will take place automatically if Congress can’t agree on a plan to reduce the deficit.
Across-the-board cuts of $1.2 trillion over a decade were mandated last year after Democrats and Republicans couldn’t agree on a plan to reduce the deficit. Cuts of about $110 billion -- half from defense and half from non-defense agencies -- would be imposed for fiscal 2013 unless Congress acts.
The Aerospace Industries Association report claims that these cuts could close air traffic control towers, reduce passenger and cargo capacity and cost 132,000 American jobs -- including air traffic controllers and TSA screening agents -- at major hubs across the country, including Boston.
“If sequestration is not stopped, it will be by far the most devastating budget cut to the FAA in its 54 years,” former Secretary of Transportation and Congressman Norman Mineta, who now works for the public relations firm Hill + Knowlton Strategies, said in a release. “The FAA is a critical safety organization that regulates our national air transportation system. Putting it at risk is folly beyond comparison.”
The report estimated the cost to Massachusetts, in reduced travel revenue and jobs, if the FAA budget is reduced. A five percent reduction in travel spending would cost the state $64 million; a five percent reduction in employment would cost the state 455 jobs.
An official at the Northeast regional office of the Federal Aviation Administration had no comment on the report, deferring to the White House Office of Management and Budget in Washington, where a spokesman said that, “the Administration cannot confirm the analysis.”D.C. Denison can be reached at email@example.com. Globe wire services were used in this report.