Washington State air facilities that could close with sequestration

The FAA has released a list of air traffic control facilities that could close with Sequestration, which is due to take effect March 1.

The following facilities in Washington State are on the list:

ALW Walla Walla Regional Walla Walla WA
MWH Grant County International Moses Lake WA
OLM Olympia Regional Olympia WA
PAE Snohomish County Airport (Paine Field) Everett WA
RNT Renton Municipal Renton WA
SFF Felts Field Spokane WA
TIW Tacoma Narrows Tacoma WA
YKM Yakima Air Terminal/McAllister Field Yakima WA

Additionally, the over night shifts in the following control towers are at risk:

BFI Boeing Tower Seattle WA
GEG Spokane Tower Spokane WA

The FAA warns that passengers at TSA lines could be up to three hours and tarmac delays at major hub airports could be up to 90 minutes.

16 Comments on “Washington State air facilities that could close with sequestration

  1. What a bunch of fear mongering- except for the smaller airports – the major terminals and staffing will be declared critical or exempt at the last moment. And the bit about local police and EMT being immediately affected is likewise BS- why ? Cuz police-fire-emt and similar are paid by the city-county- state with only indirect annual- bi annual federal funding.

    Its a fair bet the world will not come to an end!!!

    • Actually, not fear mongering. The law isn’t written such that the agencies can say cut this, but not that. It’s across the board cuts. The locally funded stuff still gets federal dollars, and those dollars would stop, which could have the effects they are saying, of course the local governments could also raise taxes to make up the difference.
      Yes, sequestration is dumb, but it was DESIGNED to be dumb. So dumb that nobody would be dumb enough to let it happen.

  2. “The FAA warns that passengers at TSA lines could be up to three hours and tarmac delays at major hub airports could be up to 90 minutes.”

    Really??? Think about that for a minute.

    Major airports around the country like Sea-Tac, DFW, BOS, etc.will see no reduction in FAA/ATC services, nor will the TRACONs, or Centers. Doesn’t it seem odd that there will only be cuts in ATC services? FAA administration, airport inspections, aircraft inspections, NAV-AIDs, or even those working to recertify the B-787 are not being laid off. Only the air traffic controllers are, and not in a even, nation wide distrubution. Here in my neck of the woods, North Texas, FTW, GYK, AFW, RBD, ADS, DTO, and other North Texas small airports are only loosing the overnight ATCs. So why are so many Washington State airports “closing”? BTW, those airports are not actually closing, they MIGHT only loose the ATCT manning.

    This is just scare mongering from the government to get the people to support the second tax increase this year. The federal budget sequestration is a gradual process spread over 10 years. This year’s “share” is ‘only’ $44 Billion out of a $1.6 TRILLION budget. On the big scale of things, that is not even the preverbal “drop in the bucket”. The DOD share of the cuts amount to $20 Billion out of their (original) $630 Billion budget. The DOT (where the FAA lives) share of the cuts is just about $2 Billion, total.

    Like everything else put out by the US Government these days, and echoed by the ‘drive by news media’, and (too) many state Governors (the common thread among these state Governors is they are all democrarts).

    I am sooo tired of the “sky is falling” warnings from the (current) US Government.

    • Dammm ! It must be Armegeddon when top boom agrees with me -maybe the mayans were just a few months off (;)

      • The FAA’s cut for this year is only about $450 Million. Your right Don, we are usually on opposite sides of the issue, it is a rare occasion when we agree.

        Now, about that Mayan Calender. Were the FED and US Government involved in any way in calculating the date or 21 Dec. 2012? If they were, that would certainly explane a lot.

        • KC135TopBoom :
          The FAA’s cut for this year is only about $450 Million. Your right Don, we are usually on opposite sides of the issue, it is a rare occasion when we agree.
          Now, about that Mayan Calender. Were the FED and US Government involved in any way in calculating the date or 21 Dec. 2012? If they were, that would certainly explane a lot.

          My sources suggest that Tim Geithner and Jack Lew both used turbo- tax to verify the Mayan date.

          And its exPLAIN not exPLANE !!

  3. None of the airports will close. The threat that LaHood et al are pushing is currently focused on furloughs for ‘services’ provided by TSA and ATC. For the list of WA towers, most are on federal contract, some are actual FAA.

    Generally speaking, the contract towers cost FAA $50K/month. They all used to be FAA towers, and were contracted out in the mid-1990’s (I know this because I was a controller at one of them, and researched/wrote articles about the process). The original contracts amounted to roughly $250K/tower per year. They have since inflated to $500K/yr+. The contractors are typically run by retired FAA high-level officials; they commonly employee retired FAA controllers, who thus collect a nice federal pension and ‘double-dip’ with the ~$25-30/hr they get while working at slow contract towers.

    Speaking only of the Washington towers (as addressed in this original post), GEG, BFI, PAE, and MWH are all still FAA, while TIW, ALW, SFF, OLM, YKM and RNT are all contracted. One of the attractions with the contracting idea was that FAA could turn these on and off at will; they have since used them as often as needed to rile the Public, to rally support for more FAA funding. An online search finds plenty of local news blurbs for all these contract locations, all strategically timed in the fiscal cycle. FAA may be concealing controller errors and spending too much money, but the people in their PR group do a bang-up job on the spin.

    As for safety, the reality is there are MANY airports with no towers that run much more traffic than these contract (and many of the FAA) towers. LaHood et al will try to scare up concern where there there should be none. The overnight facilities (GEG, BFI) see very little traffic during those hours, and there has been talk for years of closing them down in the wee hours. In fact, BFI was one of the towers made famous for sleeping controllers when that epidemic hit in early 2011. When the Knoxville controller slept for five hours, his un-certified coworker in the tower (who had washed out of the radar training) ‘winged it’ to provide radar service to the five or so flights. In August 2006, when the Lexington controller claimed he was distracted at 6AM counting strips, Comair 5191 took off on the wrong runway; the runway was too short and they crashed, killing 49. NTSB reported there were fourteen strips for the six-hour period. The fatal accident is not typical, but the low traffic count is very typical.

    The key part missing from the PDF’s attached to LaHood’s announcement is the money that could/should be saved by cleaning out the deadwood in FAA’s administration. Focus especially on the FAA HQ in DC, the Regional Offices (e.g., Renton), the new ‘Service Areas’ (started in 2006, and duplicating the Regional Offices), and the fiefdoms at the District Level (e.g., Seattle District, Golden Gate District, etc.). These offices are stuffed with people maxed out on the federal payscale, which is currently ~$180K/yr. The average pay (after adding bonuses) for the top 200 paychecks in 2010 at FAA HQ: $187K (I just calculated it from online data). Shoot, furlough three of those guys one day per period and you have enough savings to NOT furlough one contract tower for that pay period.

    So, yeah, this is ALL ABOUT trying to scare the public. Shame on LaHood, and shame on my former employer…

    • Ray LaHood is a former Congressman from IL. We all know how hard working and honest politicians in IL are, don’t we?

        • leehamnet :
          Hey! We Illinoisans are proud of our politicians!!!!

          Do they have a lottery system set up so citizens can visit them during visiting hours ?

          Don’t they have free cable tv- cellphones- and other things at club fed / club state

          To paraphrase an old railroad baron – He had the best legislatures money could by

    • IF i understand the FED system and IF I believe some national network – it APPEARS that Gubbermint workers must be given 30 days notice BEFORE a furlough.

      So IF the ball drops on friday – Virtually ALL the federal workers will still be on jobs until late March or early April.

      And THEN the world as we know it ends. Please pay your taxes now, or the IRS will chase you all over hell ( or for a few of us who ARE more equal than others – Heaven )

  4. leehamnet :
    Hey! We Illinoisans are proud of our politicians!!!!

    Yes IL is trying to set a record, I think it is 4 in a row Govs that got to ‘serve’ time.

    • Not four “in a row.” Kerner, Walker, Ryan and Blogo (plus Cong. Rostenkowsi and now Jackson). Govs. Ogilvie, Thompson and Skinner did NOT go to jail.

      • Obviously accuracy is your watchword – maybe should have said ‘ politician ‘ instead of Governator- but I’ll bet Ill will still have the U.S record or a close second to NY or NJ if you go back to 1900 or so.

        Do they give a medal for such a record ? Or change the state seal to ball and chain on a field of $$ bills

  5. I recall Tip O’Neal and Reagan did not like each other and were miles apart on most issues. However, budgets were made the old fashioned way – by a steady process of setting priorities and making adult decisions. I didn’t like a lot of them but admired they did their job.

    We are now 4 years without the Senate passing a budget, actually setting priorities on what is important, what could be trimmed, what new programs should start, and what programs to cut.

    Many, many agencies and programs (actually nearly all) have bloat, duplication, and deadwood. I think there are 86 agencies / programs dealing with assistance to the poor. Couldn’t we get better results if there were more like a dozen. But the pols want TSA to stop doing front line security, but keep all the managers.

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