The efficient operation of a government requires that it adopts relevant mechanisms to control its national deficit. Even though the government can opt for other means of maintaining its national debt, the topic of sequestration is debated among many stakeholders in the servicing industry. The need to control the country’s debt has made sequestration a household term. The reduction in national debt requires that the national government initiates spending cuts in various categories of the federal structure. The process of sequestration relates to part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that was scheduled to start at the start of this year but due to delay by the American Taxpayer Relief Act 2012, the law came into effect in early March this year. The division among Republicans and Democrats that existed in Congress led to delay before effecting the requirements of the Budget Control Act of 2012, but the government decided to impose the automatic cuts across all federal agencies.
Even though sequestration cuts government spending for many of the federal agencies, it is a process that received criticism from all federal agencies who argued that the government had many options of reducing its national debt. However, the government argued that policy makers could pass another addition to the country’s debt ceiling that would allow rise in spending on federal services exceeding the levels established by the congress (Bender 1). They could also consent a legislation to raise revenues to offset spending for government programs, or they could allow sequestration to endorse compulsory spending cuts for federal services.
In the aviation industry, the effect of the cuts was felt by the Federal Aviation Administration as many of its operations were affected as they were put under sequester. The seizure mandated cuts of at least eighty five billion dollars from the federal budget and planned for larger cuts in the subsequent years (Federal Aviation Administration). The Federal Aviation Authority was supposed to take over sixty percent of sequester cuts for all of the Department of Transport even though the agency forms only twenty percent of the department’s budget (Federal Aviation Administration). This totaled to over six hundred million in spending cuts for the fiscal year 2012-2013.
As a result, the agency had to adopt various policies and programs that would lead to a reduction in its spending, which would curtail its operations with major impacts on the aviation industry. The agency argued that sequestration would lead to worker layoffs in the aviation industry (Matteson 1). The budget reduction will affect current operations and functioning of the air transport system causing an annual decline of thirty six to seventy three million in passenger transport, and a loss of millions in air freight (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association). This will lead to an annual loss of thousands of jobs and loss of millions of dollars in terms of output. The agency plans a layoff strategy where a worker will have one day out of work in a period of two weeks (Bender 1). A decline in spending leads to a decline in the provision of services to customers. This leads to decrease in the agencies revenues while the cost of providing goods and services increases. To control its cost of providing services and low demand for services, the agency decided to lay-off its workers. This has an impact on the economy because it leads to increase in unemployment rates as approximately forty seven thousand workers are laid off in one day per pay period (Matteson 1).
In order to meet the sequester cuts, the agency shall shut down at least one hundred and forty air traffic controllers and eliminate overnight shifts in at least sixty facilities (Matteson 1). The air traffic control towers with fewer than one hundred and fifty flight operations in forty six states will be affected. These are airports that are staffed by contracted air traffic controllers who staff two hundred and fifty airport towers in the United States of America (Bender 1). The reduction in the number of the air traffic controllers affects small regional airports and will hamper transport in those regions. Moreover, the big airports are not excluded because many of them will lose their overnight shift facilities due to the cuts. Complaints originated from the local community who argued that the closure of air traffic control towers will impact on towers that serve smaller communities thus a problem of transportation (Federal Aviation Administration).
The closure of air traffic control towers has generated a lot of debate between the government and contractors who were awarded tenders by the Federal Aviation Administration. The closure of the tower will have a long term impact on law enforcement, which forces the agency to reduce the number of towers for closure to one hundred and forty five up from one hundred and eighty nine (Bender 1).The agency cited a threat to national security after consulting with the Department of defense, considerable interference with multi-state transportation, financial networks, and communication. Moreover, many contractors argued that the air traffic control towers under their control were better that those owned by the agency. The contracted air traffic control towers had low operational costs compared to the agency’s towers and the agency needed to carry out cost savings by closing it towers (Bender 1). Moreover, it was not about reducing the cost of government but safety since contracted towers had a low rate and the number of safety incidents.
The reduction of spending in the agency will lead to reduction of its resource base. This will affect the precautionary maintenance for the air traffic control equipment (Namowitz 1). This may lead to failure of equipment that may endanger the lives of passengers. The decline in resources will reduce safety of airlines as a means of transport (Matteson 1). It will be difficult to carryout inspection of airlines with few resources, which will lead to low quality checks and jamming of airplanes that await inspection before departure. This will result to delays before flights and sometimes cancellation of flights especially during peak periods (Bender 1). Moreover, increased demand for airline services will lead to increase in prices of airline tickets, which will cater for the changes made by the organization. This will affect consumer satisfaction with airline services and they may opt for other convenient means of transport. The overall impact of the decline in the agency’s resource base will be provision of low quality services to its customers that will have a negative impact on the image of the aviation industry.
The process of sequestration is an option that was adopted by the government through the Budget Control Act of 2011, which did not give a limit to the process. The federal government plans more cuts in federal spending in subsequent years. The reduction in federal spending will reduce the agency’s capacity to continue with its programs and policies for the financial year (Namowitz 1). The maintenance and improvement of airport roads and other infrastructure will be hampered because the Airport Improvement Program will stall, the Bricks and Mortar project will be smothered due to lack of funds, and the agency will be unable to sustain many of its development projects such as the Next Generation air traffic control system due to lack of funds for research and development (Matteson 1). The agency is worried on the long term effects of the cuts if the government does not rectify the Budget control Act of 2012 that makes sequestration unlimited.
The Budget Control Act outlines many spending cuts that affect the department of defense and other federal agencies, which are forced to undertake remarkable cuts to non essential spending. A decision by the military will be to end their participation in air shows in the country that will affect the survival of the air show industry (Namowitz 1). The air shows provide an appropriate public relation connection between the military and the public. It provides an opportunity for the military to showcase their defense capabilities while providing entertainment to the public. This hinders community participation because people are unaware about the roles that the industry plays in the community development (Namowitz 1).
It is apparent that the spending cuts in all the federal agencies will negatively impact on the customers. The decline in revenue and resources will lead to high costs of operation. The government discharged a financial proposal, which includes a hundred dollars per flight user fee to be placed on customers in order to generate more revenue for its operational expenses (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association). This will lead to an increase in prices for airline tickets. Moreover, the Aircraft Controllers and Pilots Association insisted that it is an unfair financing of the general aviation industry because it does not affect the government (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) This leads to disagreements between the government and various agencies as was evident when the government initiated spending cuts on the Federal Aviation Administration and Shielded the overall Department of Transport from major spending cuts. Moreover, the Federal Aviation Administration decided to close one hundred and forty nine air traffic control towers that belonged to the General Aviation industry (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association).
Aviation effects along with the 600 million in spending cuts in 2013 fiscal year, the government agency will not only be furloughing workers but also cutting on the spending budget across over 100 air traffic control centers. This means there will be the elimination of over 60 facilities night shifts. Moreover, there will be the decline in the preventative maintenance and support for all air traffic control machinery (Metzger & Raja 47). High standards of the aviation industry will be affected in the efficiency of the aviation industry through the aviation and maintenance.
The work furlough according to the FAA, sequestration will force furloughs in 2013. The air traffic is an employer of 35000 people who include 15200 controllers of traffic, 7000 engineers and 5000 managers and supervisors. The sequestration is going to cause potential layoffs of the job to around 2000 personnel who work in the aviation departments (Metzger & Raja 47). The FAA had informally suggested that it would look at the furloughs to make sure there is lesser consequences happen to the aviation department. However, the cuts will do little to tame the situation of the aviation departments for the workers will be forced to work fewer hours. The reduction of controller hours means lesser flights in the air. This creates the picture of economic frustration and loss of flight numbers bring to the aviation sector. This is only on the furloughs of the controllers. If the other technical workforce is included according to the FAA estimates in the AOPA in July 2012 safety compliance will fall dramatically. This will imply the standards of the aviation will be discovering a reduction on the safety associated with airport operations. Therefore, the risks of the aviation will increase.
Controller Attrition Further Decreases Services
The cuts will interfere with the benefits and pays of the federal employees where they already are experiencing an increase on changes on their packages. The federal employees may choose to retire due to the negative pays and furloughs in the department of aviation should the changes be implemented (Metzger and Raja 47). They would rather opt for early retirement than face a rather delicate aviation sector that has very few employee indexes and an increase in the work required to be done. This compromises the department’s safety of the high budget contributor to the country’s economy.
Aircraft services reduction
Should sequestration be applied, the aviation industry, the airlines, airports and passengers are going to feel the effects immediately due to the decreased air traffic services. If the NAS experiences the reduction in capacity of the flights and fewer flight will be recorded for the increase in the costs to cater for the cuts. Consequently, the slowdown will be evident, as the airlines will have no competitive edge to other countries therefore ceding of the routes that are international to reduce the scope of the markets. This will make the U.S business at a competitive disadvantage in the global market. The aviation industry is all about the services rendered by the airlines and airports. The reduction in comfortable service will automatically make the aviation less competitive making the people use the most cost effective and service oriented airlines that are global denying market for the nation’s airlines due to the feasibility (Morser et al, N.p) .
Commercial airlines would try to bridge the gap created by sequestration via the increase in the fares of the passengers making the ordinary American very frustrated by the price. The increase in prices will force citizens to way options on the priorities in the air travel and other means since the flight spending would become unfeasible for the average Americans. The airports will charge hefty fines for the delays that are close to 4 hours late (Metzger & Raja 47). This again discourages the airlines in having their planes idle on airports grounds; they would rather keep them in the hangars. If the sequestration would happen as the government has suggested reduction of the capacity and services will be evident immediately. Considering the reduced size of the aviation workers between the years 2006 and 2008 the work force will face the worst level of workforce in the industry.
This will imply that the workload will be frustrating compromising the safety of the people travelling by air in the country. If the aviation is understaffed, there will always be problems of the efficiency of the aviation department to function to its full capacity. Additionally the FAA was relying on trainees making the delays occur. FAA also caused a slowdown in the training process of the trainees, which created more safety risks at the time. Sequestration implementation would mean that the situation will be doubled compared to the time when funding was there (Xu& Esa et al 385). The NAS learned from the mistakes and is handling the problem with adequate staff numbers in the aviation sector, making the system prone to the safety and efficiency problems that it earlier experienced. Implementation of the sequestration will indicate that there would be an increase in the staff departures in the busiest hubs where training of new recruits will take forever.
There would be an increase in the resignation and furlough in the main hubs like New York air route traffic control center where there is a 27% rate eligibility of controllers who will retire beginning 2014 (Xu& Esa et al 367). This indicates an alarming rate if the work force walking. This is spread across all the busy hubs meaning there would be a decrease in the staff that will mean more need to recruit more workers. The staggering numbers of the controllers are alarming especially when it takes three years to train a traffic controller in the complex airspace if the controllers are forced to retire. The FAA would be pressed to replace the controllers in the way they are leaving. The loss of workers in that capacity would make the aviation department semi-crippled from the loss of valuable experienced controllers. Calling them back would mean more spending on the workers for they would demand better wages and since the aviation needs them, it will be obligated to make them happy for the purpose of the safety of the country’s airspace (Metzger & Raja 47).
The operations budget line is the highest in the FAA, and funds people to operate the system that works around the clock on a 24-hour basis. The funds make sure the physical fitness of the aviators, safety in the aviation, establishment of the rules and regulations that maintain and aid the navigation of the national system, research programs and distribution of the aeronautical charts used by the flying public, among other uses . The cuts will kill the FAA research programs that look into the next generation modernizing programs that are primarily through the facilities and paraphernalia line that will cut approximately $160 dollars (Emerton et al N.p).
Significant researches will halt at a time when their progress would have been made. One of the projects that shows promise is the OAPM (optimization of airspace and procedures in the Metroplex) that seeks to integrate the airspace and deconflicting of the traffic flows over the major metropolitan areas known as the Metroplex. The project will increase the fuel efficiency and carbon emission. Sequestration will hamper the discovery of better ways to preserve the country’s environment when it cuts the budget of the aviation sector (Dyment 54). If the NEXTGen were put on, a slow there would be an effect on the economy. This means the research planning and construction expenditure is reduced the economy will face less investment in the economy. This means close to $40 billion in economic output through to 2021 costing close to 700,000 jobs according to the AIA. Therefore, the government will lose many opportunities due to cuts that seem to help now (Dyment 54).
Aviation is a very lucrative component in the national economy by contributing $1.3 trillion to the GDP in every fiscal year. In order to keep the contributions in the country the FAA needs adequate funding to run the aviation industry without any problems. Cutting of the budgets in the aviation industry brings more harm than good and this would mean a shortcut to the destruction of an industry built in many years. The congress should act quickly to avert the inconveniences the cuts will bring to the NAS and the country’s economy.
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