Sequester & FAA Furloughs: Flying the Government Skies – WSJ.com
As travellers nationwide are learning, the White House has decided to express its dislike of the sequester—otherwise known as modestly smaller government—by choosing to cut basic air traffic control services. We wrote about this human- rights violation on Tuesday in “Flight Delays as Political Strategy,” but the story gets worse the closer we look.
Start with the Federal Aviation Administration, better known as the Postal Service without the modern technology. Flyers directly fund two-thirds of the FAA’s budget through 17 airline taxes and fees—about 20% of the cost of a $300 domestic ticket, up from 7% in the 1970s. Yet now the White House wants to make this agency that can’t deliver what passengers are supposedly paying for even more dysfunctional.
Ponder this logic, if that’s the right word: The sequester cuts about $637 million from the FAA, which is less than 4% of its $15.9 billion 2012 budget, and it limits the agency to what it spent in 2010. The White House decided to translate this 4% cut that it has the legal discretion to avoid into a 10% cut for air traffic controllers. Though controllers will be furloughed for one of every 10 working days, four of every 10 flights won’t arrive on time.
The FAA projects the delays will rob one out of every three travellers of up to four hours of their lives waiting at the major hubs. Congress passed a law in 2009 that makes such delays illegal, at least if they are the responsibility of an airline. Under President Obama’s “passenger bill of rights,” the carriers are fined millions of dollars per plane that sits on the tarmac for more than three hours. But sauce for the goose is apparently an open bar for the FAA gander.
Read the Read @ Review & Outlook: Flying the Government Skies – WSJ.com.