The FAA is planning for sequestration. David Grizzle, the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization, Chief Operating Officer says the agency is in the early stages of examining various scenarios should the automatic cuts happen. His comments came during a House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing on the FAA’s Contract Tower Program. Under this program, air traffic control towers with low-activity can be converted to contract operations.The Transportation Department’s Inspector General and members representing air traffic controllers’ organizations also testified.
The program could face $128 million in cuts by January 2013 if the automatic budget sequester goes into effect.
Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel testified on an updated 2003 report that shows contract towers to be at least as safe as FAA towers, and significantly more cost effective.
Additional witnesses included: Julie Oettinger, assistant administrator for policy, international affairs and environment, FAA; Walter B. Strong, chairman, U.S. Contract Tower Association Policy Board; Trish Gilbert, executive vice president, National Air Traffic Controllers Association; and Melissa Rudinger, senior vice president, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.