Sequester Effects At Boise’s Airport Unclear

Feb 27, 2013

Credit Robin Wagner / Flickr Creative Commons

Friday's looming sequestration deadline has left federal agencies struggling to come up with contingency plans.  According to the White House, the Federal Aviation Administration's [FAA] budget would be cut by $600 million. 

At the air traffic control tower at Boise’s airport, manager Gordon Stewart stays away from the political debate. He’s faced potential cuts before, but Stewart says two days away from the deadline -- these cuts seem very possible.

“The FAA at this point is proposing to furlough all FAA employees for up to 11 days between now and the end of the fiscal year," says Stewart. "At this point, we think that would probably be one furlough day every two weeks.”  

As the manager of about two dozen Boise air traffic controllers, Stewart says his employees are concerned about their jobs.  

“It effects their livelihood – I guess that can’t help but be a concern to anyone when the status of your job comes into question," he says. 'I think we’re all hopeful that this is resolved sooner rather than later.”

Stewart says that details of how the airport’s operations would be affected are still murky. He’s confident that even with furlough days Boise air travelers would fly uninterrupted, at least for a few weeks.

But if the budget cuts go on for months, he’s not so sure what will happen. Stewart says there could be issues with new air traffic controllers falling behind on their training schedule. This could eventually mean fewer fully trained controllers at the Boise Airport.

The Transportation Security Administration could also see dramatic cuts. We reached out to the TSA in Boise and in D.C., but did not receive specifics. The White House says a cut to the TSA workforce through hiring freezes or furloughs could increase security lines throughout the country.

Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio