FAA Shutdown Remains, Despite Congressional Recess

Posted Aug 3rd 2011 03:30 PM



AP Images

The FAA is still in shutdown mode, despite Congress leaving town for a planned recess.

As a result, some 4,000 agency employees and contractors are furloughed with no end in sight, and 40 plane inspectors who make regular checks covering runways, navigation aids and other systems at airports around the country will continue to work without pay (and incur work expenses personally) to ensure that the industry doesn't crumple under the shutdown.

Plus, some 70,000 to 90,000 workers have been laid off as airport improvement projects across the country have come to a halt.

So far, the federal government has lost more than $250 million in revenue. The full annual budget of the rural air services program is roughly $200 million.

Tom Parsons, CEO of BestFares.com, told Bloomberg News that "it's like we've had a 7.5 percent fare hike for the airlines, and it's not coming out of your pocket or mine but Uncle Sam's. It's like Santa Claus came in July."

Now, Bloomberg News reports, that the airlines could face a $1.3 billion "windfall" by pocketing the 7.5% tax on domestic ticket sales through September 7th, when Congress resumes.

When Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com talked to Bloomberg News he agreed, saying: "This is manna from heaven, a real windfall for the airlines. I don't expect them to drop the fare increases. Why would they? Total ticket prices are the same and it doesn't seem to be hurting bookings."

At the beginning of the shutdown, some airlines gave customers a break of sorts, with variations of discounted fare "sales," while others raised fares slightly to compensate for the difference.

On its website, the IRS has pointed travelers to the airlines to get tax refunds. Yet, American, United/Continental and Southwest are all directing customers to seek refunds with the IRS. JetBlue is asking customers to email the airline for a refund, the Associated Press reported earlier this week.

An AOL Travel poll conducted on July 24th shows that some 9,361 AOL Travel readers believed the airlines were being too greedy.

FAA Workers Furloughed in Partial Shutdown

Filed Under: Air Travel, News

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Should they be on vacation? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

August 06 2011 at 12:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dialurdoctor Medrx

Thanks for sharing it.

August 04 2011 at 4:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mona Helcermanas-Ben

I saw this story on TV yesterday about the taxes being collected and kept by the airlines. How can that possibly be legal? They are basically stealing in my opinion. If they keep collecting they should be forced by law to turn that money over to the FAA. They have no right to it.

August 04 2011 at 12:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That is sick. When is congress going to cut their own pay and quit cutting people who we really need out there? It is disgusting that congress would take a holiday with something as important as an FAA shutdown taking place.


August 04 2011 at 12:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carl Weisinger

$4,000 per ticket is the government subsidy to keep some of these small airports profitable? The work will still be there. Until then they can apply for unemployment. Do they get paid when they go on strike?

August 03 2011 at 10:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aunt Carol

The republican cut the spending and left town putting thousands of people out of work and losing billions in uncollected taxes. WHY DO MY FELLOW AMERICANS KEEP VOTING FOR REPUBLICANS? This is like taking a gun and shoting yourself. The republicans have done so much to hurt this country and they keep doing more and more. If any of you sit on your duff in 2012 like you did in 2010 you deserve what you get. We could have prevented this, but some of you were too passive to get out and vote. Keep it up and we won't have a country left. Mexico is almost even with us...and ahead of other countries with a better economy.

August 03 2011 at 10:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who cares , Airlines are flying cattle cars now.
and the airports are nothing other than over priced shopping malls with a captive audience .
Hope they get mall security to stop hiring gropers {TSA}. and the shoplifters {Baggage handlers}.
make all politicians fly coach ,and take away their reserved parking spaces at Dulles and Regan ,

August 03 2011 at 10:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Loving the standard line now from the white house........"they have done it before" .

I agree this is a necessary bill and should be renewed with stipulations....

It is time that we oppose any standard spending increases assumed by D.C. as normal.

I think Obama's credit limit has been established and the American people now will decide what is spent. Despite the rhetoric....terrorists kill innocent people ......responsible people manage a checkbook. If YOU ran your house the way our government does, you would live in a box.

August 03 2011 at 10:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to iandirac's comment
Joseph Glackin

A government is not a house. It is not a business. Such comparisons are baseless.
The logic is sophomoric. The "Balanced Budget Amendment" is an exercise in fraud.
It will never happen. Everyone pushing it knows that. You CANNOT run a country on a fixed budget, because you CANNOT know the future.
Saying otherwise is asinine at best, blasphemous at worst.

August 03 2011 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The behavior of Congress is disgusting. Repeatedly, we have seen that they only care about themselves and forgot the country that has enriched them. If these idiots don't come to their senses soon, the USA will be nothing but a 3rd world power.

August 03 2011 at 10:09 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Why are they on furlough? Don't they have to earn vacations like the rest of us? They haven't earned anything, especially the GREEDY, HATEFUL republiCANT/CONS! ALL THEY do is create mean-spirited or corrupt deceptive legislation meant to demean, leave out, mistreat, deny, deceive, or call out someone who is different from them or NOT rich! VOTE THESE HATEFUL PEOPLE OUT!

August 03 2011 at 9:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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