posted on February 07, 2013 17:15
Sequestration will slow the FAA's efforts to transition to NextGen and reduce the number of air traffic controllers on the job, according to a new report (page 7) from House Appropriations Committee Democrats.
“The looming issue of sequestration and its potential effect on the FAA’s transition to NextGen will have dire effects on the helicopter industry,” said HAI President Matt Zuccaro. “The many benefits already realized in the Gulf of Mexico ADS-B program include enhanced safety, operational efficiency and economic performance. Sequestration puts in doubt such programs and our ability to expand NextGen technologies into other segments of the helicopter industry such as medical transport, air tours, aerial firefighting and rescue missions,” he said.
FAA's capital account, which funds the NextGen transition, has already been cut over the past few years, the report says, and sequestration would further hamper the effort to move to a satellite-based air traffic control system.
The report also notes that the automatic budget cuts would trim the number of air traffic controllers, worsening a shortage caused by mandatory retirements.
"Over the next ten years, FAA estimates that it will lose more than 12,100 controllers due to forced retirement at age 56 or through normal attrition. As a result, FAA will need to hire and train new controllers, many of which take three years or more to be fully qualified."