US government shutdown could add misery to air travel

US government shutdown could add misery to air travel

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has issued a warning that a partial government shutdown could have a disruptive impact on air travel. He stated that if Congress does not fund government operations before Saturday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would need to furlough over 17,000 employees, including 1,000 air traffic controllers in training. Buttigieg emphasized the potential dangers and disruptions that could arise from such a shutdown, particularly in the transportation sector.

The White House has highlighted the negative consequences of past federal government shutdowns on travelers, including significant delays and longer wait times. The U.S. Travel Association has estimated that a partial shutdown could cost the U.S. travel economy up to $140 million per day. The association also warned that the air travel system would experience more flight delays, longer screening lines, and setbacks in air travel modernization during a government shutdown.

While air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security officers would be required to continue working during a shutdown, they would not receive their pay. The FAA has already extended cuts to minimum flight requirements at congested New York City-area airports due to staffing shortages. The agency has hired 1,500 controllers this year but is still behind its staffing targets by about 3,000 controllers, with a quarter of them not fully certified.

A government watchdog report in June highlighted the risks to air traffic operations, with controllers working mandatory overtime and six-day work weeks to cover shortages. If Congress does not separately reauthorize the operations of the FAA, the government would be unable to collect airline ticket taxes. In a previous 35-day shutdown in 2019, the number of absences by controllers and TSA officers increased, leading to extended checkpoint wait times and pressure on lawmakers to resolve the situation.

In conclusion, the potential consequences of a partial government shutdown on air travel are significant and could result in disruptions, dangers, and financial losses. The FAA and other agencies are already facing staffing shortages, and a shutdown would exacerbate these challenges, impacting the efficiency and safety of the air travel system.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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