Transport Airlines

Airlines and pilots sue FAA to prevent air traffic controller furloughs and delays


Apr 19, 2013 12:55 pm

Skift Take

The Airlines for America action seems very reasonable. There’s no way these massive furloughs wouldn’t impact passenger safety.

— Dennis Schaal

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The airline trade group, Airline for America, as well as the Regional Airline Association and the Airline Pilots Association sued the FAA and DOT, seeking to prevent the furlough of air traffic controllers and flight-delay-causing ground stops due to sequestration budget cuts.

A4A filed the motion to stay these actions April 19 in U.S. Appellate Court for the District of Columbia Circuit. Arguing the furloughs and ground stops would create safety hazards and lead to flight delays for up to four hours this summer, A4A seeks to delay the impending furloughs for 30 days so the issues can be addressed with legislation.

The suit states:

“The capacity reduction plan requires a blanket 10% cut in hours across the board, with no consideration of the impacts on the travelling public or the air transportation system. Rather, the plan has the effect of creating the maximum disruption for travelers because its effects will, by the FAA’s own admission, be felt the greatest at some of the largest, most frequently travelled airports.”


“This plan, in essence, will unnecessarily cause one out of three passengers to be delayed every day, and make every day in the air traffic management system twice as delayed as the single worst day last year, in terms of flight delays.”

The furloughs of air traffic controllers at smaller airports around the country are slated to go into effect in two days, on April 21.

“The math simply does not work, and it is irresponsible to suggest that a 10 percent reduction of air traffic control hours should mean 40 percent fewer flights can arrive on time,” A4A Nicholas Calio said. “It’s unjust, unnecessary and completely irresponsible.”

Here’s a portion of the 125-page motion to stay (reduced for size purposes) by A4A, the Regional Airline Association and Airline Pilots Association against the FAA and the DOT:

Download (PDF, 101KB)

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