Air travelers may suffer delays from Congress cuts

by: Holly Maynard Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Air travelers could be in for long delays if Congress doesn't call off cuts by the end of this year, according to some experts.

Billions of dollars worth of budget cuts to help reduce the federal deficit are scheduled to take effect Jan. 2.

The cuts would impact a number of federal departments, including the Federal Aviation Administration.

Some air traffic controllers could lose their jobs.

"The only way you can keep the system as safe as it is in that time frame is reduce schedules and delay departures," said Dan Stohr from the Aerospace Industries Association.

Travelers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport were not happy about the news. "You don't want any delays at all. None whatsoever," said Camellia Banks.

"It's hard enough getting in and out of airports," said Roger Holder, who flies often.

He wasn't happy when Eyewitness News told him that several security screeners could also be laid off, because the Transportation Security Administration will also suffer cuts.

The potential for longer lines concerns business traveler Holder, who often has three flights in one day.
"I miss the first one, I miss the second one, I miss the third one, and I can't get to the cities I have to get to," Holder said.

  Charlotte Aviation Director Jerry Orr said he understands the drastic cuts.

"Clearly we need to reduce the debt and clearly that won't happen magically," said Orr.

He said if enough travelers complain to their representatives, he thinks Congress will reverse some of the cuts eventually.

Congress just took a seven-week vacation. They will come back after the election and will have until the end of the year to make changes.

The issue is on the list of priorities for when they return.

However, as Stohr said, there's an incredible amount of legislation on that list and very little time to act on it.