Sequestration to Impact Air Travel - FOX 18 Quad Cities News and Weather

Sequestration to Impact Air Travel

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In about a month, furloughs for federal airport workers are set to kick in, impacting you the next time you fly with longer wait times in the security line and possibly delayed or even canceled flights.

"Think about if your paycheck is going to be cut 20 percent, so they're talking a day a week taking off work," Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois) says of the upcoming furloughs.

TSA workers and air traffic controllers everywhere are bracing for this in the next month. Over 70 employees at the Quad City Airport could be affected.

As they prepare for pay cuts and furloughs, travelers could have to shoulder that burden too with longer waits.

"If you get people laid off or furloughed, who's going to be checking the bags at the screening checkpoint, who's going to run it through the magnetometers? That will cause delays," QC Airport Director of Aviation Bruce Carter says.

But travelers say they can't afford to wait even more.

"It's already frustrating to fly and anything that brings further delays or more problems would cause more frustration," Cammie Scully says.

"I probably would stop traveling, I want things as easy as I can get them," Nancy Johnson says.

The sequester will take a bigger toll on airport hubs like those in Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta, airports many QC passengers connect through. Air traffic controllers there possibly having to cut shifts and shut down runways.

"That creates 90 minutes to two hour delays, what happens to the leisure travelers and the business travelers, it just devastates them," Carter says.

Carter says it could cause not only delays for travelers, but also fewer flights.

"They're talking about Detroit shutting down one runway and Atlanta; if they start shutting down runways does that cancel flights for us? Right now we have three flights to Atlanta we cannot afford to lose a flight to Atlanta," Carter says.

Making it harder on those traveling and putting the pressure on Congress to fix it.

"The airport stands to be hurt in a significant way if we can't get this figured out," Bustos says.

Congress is working on a plan to avoid this but if they don't, the furloughs are expected to take effect in April.

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