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Planned FAA cuts could hurt, expert says

Aug. 17, 2012 at 3:14 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- A reduction in the Federal Aviation Administration's budget could imperil airline safety and raise ticket prices, an industry observer said.

The FAA faces a possible $1 billion in mandatory cuts as soon as January, and a study released this week by the Aerospace Industries Association and Econsult Corp. offers a worst-case scenario of possible closure of 246 airport control towers, 1,500 fewer air traffic controllers, and the loss of 9,000 security screeners and 1,600 customs officers, CNN reported Friday.

Marion Blakey, who headed the FAA during the George W. Bush administration and currently leads an aerospace industry lobbying group, said customers should be worried.

"This will affect their ability to fly when they want and how they want. It will certainly be a drag on the airlines, which then will incur great cost, which will then be passed on to the customer," she said.

An internal U.S. Office of Management and Budget memo in July said the cuts would be "highly destructive to national security and domestic priorities, as well as core government functions," adding the White House has submitted deficit reduction proposals to Congress aimed at avoiding the cuts.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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