Budget Cuts Could Mean Longer Lines at Airports - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Budget Cuts Could Mean Longer Lines at Airports



    Officials at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport met with Transportation Safety Administration and customs representatives to talk about what could happen if federal budget cuts impact airport operations. Those cuts could affect North Texas airports big and small. (Published Monday, Feb. 25, 2013)

    There could be longer lines and wait times at airports in North Texas due to automatic budget cuts expected to arrive March 1.

    Between March and this upcoming fall, the Secretary of Transportation said in a letter that $600 million needs to be cut from the budget.

    On Monday, representatives from DFW International Airport and federal officials had a meeting about how the cuts could boil down.

    The cuts impact most of the FAA's 47,000 employees and could mean fewer air traffic controllers and fewer inspectors from the FAA as plans call for employee furloughs.

    TSA cuts could be on the way, as well.

    "If that affects their work hours, work schedules, it could have delays because they don't have enough people to manage the planes," said Mark Duebner, aviation director for Dallas' Love Field.

    There's already concern among passengers.

    "It's going to be like three-hour lines, to be here three hours early is going to be ridiculous," said Kayla Margo, of Mansfield.

    "It will be challenging to say the least especially for people who travel all the time," said Martha Lee, of Bedford.

    Smaller airports in the region would lose air traffic controllers, meaning pilots would have to use open radio frequencies to announce landings and departures.

    Representatives for both Love Field and DFW said they are in constant communication with federal agencies about cuts and ways to minimize impact on passengers.

    It could take weeks, even months before the cuts trickle down if lawmakers don't come to an agreement.