Missed budget deadline could mean delayed BNA flights

Missed budget deadline could mean delayed BNA flights (Image 1)

Nashville International Airport officials are still unsure how the furlough of TSA officers and air traffic controllers could impact travel in and out of the airport.

Federal officials, including the Secretary of Homeland Security and the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, predict massive delays getting through security at airports and missed flights due to the delays.

“Furloughs TSA Security Officers would substantially increase airline passenger wait times by as much as an hour at the Nation's largest and busiest airports,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said. “Such delays would affect air travel significantly, potentially causing thousands of passengers to miss flights with negative economic consequences at the both the local and national levels.”

The FAA predicts a number of flight delays in connection with furloughs of air traffic controllers.

“The furlough of a large number of air traffic controllers and technicians will require a reduction in air traffic to a level that can be safely managed by the remaining staff,” Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood wrote in a letter to Congress this month. “Sequestration could slow air traffic levels in major cities, which will result in delays and disruptions across the country during the critical summer travel season.”

At Nashville's airport a number of business travelers have heard about the possible delays.

Douglas Fiero was arriving to Nashville from Lexington, Kentucky on business Wednesday evening.

“It certainly would delay me but then again since 9/11 flying has not been a great experience anyway,” he said. “One hour more or two hours more makes it even worse.”

He continued, “I imagine it might affect the airlines as well definitely.”

Airlines for America, a trade organization for the nation's airline companies, would not comment on the possible effect on America's airline carriers.

“It's premature to speculate on actual impacts,” spokeswoman Victoria Day told Nashville's News 2. “We urge the administration to ensure that as cuts become necessary, they will be implemented to ensure the fewest travelers are impacted and the system continues to be as safe as it is today.”

Not all travelers were convinced the cuts were really a possibility.

“I don't buy into any of it,” business traveler Diane Bellis of New Orleans said. “I think they are telling us everything they can to scare us into calling our congress people and say do something about the budget.”

Bellis travels at least once a month for work.

Other agencies warning of massive cuts include the Department of Defense. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said 300,000 Army jobs could be lost nationwide and millions of dollars cut from Army installations.

That includes a $69 million reduction to Fort Campbell in Clarksville.

The cuts would also call for a $1 million reduction at Camp Milan, a $3 million reduction at the Tennessee USAR and $13.4 million reduction at Tennessee ARNG.

That includes, 2,496 civilian furloughs, 64 private sector jobs lost from reduced military investments, 89 jobs lost from decreased military construction and 22 contractor jobs impacted.

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