A message from the AFA International Government Affairs Director.

February 25, 2013

Dear AFA-CWA Members,

Sequestration, as you know by now, refers to the $1.2 trillion across-the-board federal budget cuts that have been looming over our nation. The deadline of March 1, 2013 is nearly at hand and positive resolution seems unlikely.  It’s important that Flight Attendants be prepared for the significant impact the cuts will have on commercial aviation.

We can expect flight delays, missed flights, increased wait times at security checkpoints of up to an hour and longer waits in customs. DHS Secretary Napolitano said, “Reduced CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) staffing would make four- to five-hour wait times commonplace.”

The FAA will be forced to trim its budget by $483 million, mostly through mandatory furloughs among air traffic controllers, aviation safety inspectors and systems specialists.

The TSA will make workforce cuts among federal air marshals, transportation security officers and transportation security screeners.

While no information is yet available as to which airports or flights might be affected, we do know that the greatest impact will be felt at the nation’s largest and busiest airports.

Due to lag time in budget and airline scheduling, Flight Attendants may not experience the full impact of sequestration cuts on aviation-related services until April at the earliest.  But once the impact of the cuts is realized our aviation infrastructure may be just as slow to recover even if a new budget deal is hammered out.

The consequences of these massive, across-the-board federal budget cuts will be resounding, negatively affecting our National Airspace System and the country’s economy in general.  Our union is working to promote a responsible budgeting resolution that supports the safest aviation system in the world and a healthy economy for our nation.  We are calling on Congress to use common sense and refuse partisan temptation to play chicken with jobs, safety and the financial health of our nation on the line.

I will continue to keep you informed as we learn more about how Flight Attendants will be directly impacted by these changes.

In Solidarity,

Stephen Schembs
AFA-CWA Government Affairs Director