Release #13.07
February 25, 2013

ALPA Pilots: Congress Must End Sequester Threat Now
FAA, TSA, and CBP Cuts Would Affect Airline Passengers and Shippers, Economy, and Jobs

WASHINGTON–The U.S. Congress must end the sequester threat and make certain that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are not forced to cut hundreds of millions from their budgets, raising the specter of thousands of eliminated, canceled, or delayed flights, reduced passenger service at security and customs checkpoints, air traffic control facility closings, and furloughs, reduced hours, or job eliminations for tens of thousands of U.S. airline industry workers.

"The impact of sequestration cannot be underestimated, because at the very time many of our passengers are contemplating their next business trip or family vacation, our pilots are looking at a future in which they will have no other choice than to leave those passengers stranded at the gate," said Capt. Sean Cassidy, first vice president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), at a Reagan National Airport news conference today. Capt. Cassidy joined Rep. James Moran (D-Va.), Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), and air travel association representatives at the event.

In his remarks, Cassidy underscored that FAA, TSA, and CBP budget cuts on this scale could not only immediately affect passenger and shipper services and flight operations but also compromise the U.S. airline industry’s future performance and profitability. He noted that if air traffic control facilities are closed or controllers are furloughed, available flights would decrease because operations would be cut back to maintain equivalent levels of safety. Budget cuts could also affect the TSA and CBP workforce, reducing passenger service at security screening and customs checkpoints.

In the longer view, Cassidy emphasized that sequestration could compromise FAA safety oversight; research and development; navigation facility and airport infrastructure maintenance; weather forecasting; and airspace modernization efforts such as NextGen that are needed to increase capacity and improve airline profitability.

“Congress must make certain that the U.S. airline industry continues to fuel our nation’s economy, provide jobs for tens of thousands of hard-working Americans, and deliver the service that passengers and cargo shippers expect and deserve from the U.S. air transportation system,” said Cassidy following the news conference. “This nation’s lawmakers must act immediately and end the sequester threat.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 51,000 pilots at 35 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703/481-4440 or