Are Major Air Travel Delays on the Horizon?


Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood may be getting ready to leave office, but he is leaving a parting message on the way out at the request of the White House. LaHood said,

“Travelers should expect delays of up to 90 minutes at peak airports during sequester, beginning April 1. It’s going to be very painful for the flying public.”

If the sequester takes place, budget cuts will hit the Federal Aviation Administration to the tune of $600 million. LaHood said he was not describing a worst case scenario intended to cause people to fear and place pressure on Republican lawmakers. But then he said,

“What I’m trying to do is wake up members of the Congress with the idea that they need to come to the table so we don’t have to have this kind of calamity in air services in America.”

Lahood made his appearance at Friday’s White House press briefing. He said he was asked to appear by the White House due to the fact he is a Republican who could influence Republican lawmakers to Obama’s position. His solution is to get Republicans back to the negotiating table, work out a deal and avoid the consequences of a sequester.

According to Lahood, the result of the sequester would be the furloughing of many air traffic controllers and closing over 100 air traffic control towers. Should this come to pass, it could virtually shut down small commuter type airports. In the end, the cuts mean less services and according to LaHood, “

We expect that they will change their schedules and cancel flights.”

Could this be more political posturing to push conservatives into a corner and let them catch all the blame should things go awry with the sequester? It seems the deeper question is not so much about where we are, but “how did we get here?” Politics tend to deal with symptoms, but it is time to lay the politics aside and get to the root of our issues.