Warning: Expect air travel delays if budget cuts hit
by Bart Jansen
February 20, 2013
WASHINGTON — The travel industry is bracing for significant disruptions starting March 1, if automatic federal spending cuts reduce staffing of air-traffic controllers and checkpoint security officers as scheduled.
"This truly could become a nightmare for travel," Geoff Freeman, chief operating officer of the U.S. Travel Association, says of anticipated flight delays, longer security lines before flights and customs lines after arriving from abroad.
He says the threatened cuts appear likely because Congress is out of session this week and the deadline fast approaching for $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts. A compromise remains elusive as congressional Republicans criticize President Obama for proposing to avert the automatic cuts by mixing spending cuts with closing tax loopholes.
"This is an enormous concern to those of us in the travel industry and should be a concern across the country," Freeman says.