PASS Outlines Sequestration Concerns at Reagan National Airport

PASS National Vice President Rich Casey participates in a press conference regarding sequestration.

WASHINGTON – Today, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS) Vice President Rich Casey joined members of Congress and aviation industry groups at Reagan National Airport to urge Congress to find a solution to avoid sequestration. Below is the statement from PASS Vice President Rich Casey.

“PASS represents over 11,000 employees at the Federal Aviation Administration. These employees work tirelessly every day to ensure the safety and reliability of the National Airspace System by maintaining, certifying and inspecting every aspect of the NAS.

“Sequestration would force the FAA to cut over $600 million from its budget this fiscal year, resulting in hiring freezes and furloughs for every single FAA employee – with additional cost-cutting measures likely to take place in the near future. These indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts will reduce the capacity and efficiency of the aviation system and seriously impact every FAA employee and their families.

“PASS members are dedicated. They’re dedicated to preserving the safety of the aviation system above all else. Whether it’s major storms like Hurricane Sandy, blizzard conditions or earthquakes such as the one that happened in Haiti, these dedicated professionals are there to restore critical aviation systems and keep the NAS functioning safely and efficiently. These men and women also have families and financial responsibilities and are already working under a two-and-a-half year pay freeze. The uncertainty that sequestration brings to them personally is distressing to say the least.

“The looming sequestration will cause major operational changes, including facility closures, elimination of shifts, reduced maintenance and fewer aviation safety inspectors working in the field. This will lead to delays in the restoration of equipment and slow the certification and approval process for airlines, aviation manufacturers and pilots. All segments of the aviation industry will be impacted by sequestration. The aviation system is a network of balanced components, with PASS members making up the human component of the system. A change to one component will be felt throughout.

“For example, reduced inspections will result in fewer new certifications, which will result in less aviation services. Some of the critical preventative maintenance performed by Technical Operations systems specialists would be eliminated, increasing the potential for outages. With limited staff due to furloughs, equipment issues that could have been prevented or corrected in very short time will take hours to remedy, leading to major air traffic delays. Facility closures will impact the number of flights, potentially forcing airlines to change their schedules and truly inconvenience travelers. These are only a few of the negative effects sequestration will have on the system. And, with aviation playing such a pivotal role in our economy, the impact will not stop at the airport.

“We all fly. We all rely on flights to be available when we need them, and for the system to function as promised. Sequestration will tie the hands of the safest and most efficient aviation system in the world.

“I want to thank Representatives Moran and Connolly and Senator Kaine for their leadership and recognition of the serious impacts sequestration could have on this country’s aviation system and passengers who rely daily on our system. I urge all lawmakers to work together to find a solution that avoids sequestration.”

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