Budget cuts could mean FAA furloughs, airport shutdowns in Oklahoma

Airports in Oklahoma City, Norman, Stillwater and other cities might have to shut down and thousands of FAA employees in Oklahoma City could face furloughs if budget cuts are triggered next week, the Transportation Department says.

By Chris Casteel | Published: February 22, 2013

WASHINGTON — Airports in Oklahoma City, Norman, Stillwater and other cities might have to shut down and overnight shifts might be eliminated at Will Rogers World Airport if federal budget cuts are triggered next week, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Friday.

Moreover, the vast majority of Federal Aviation Administration employees will be furloughed, including air traffic controllers, LaHood said. The FAA has about 5,000 direct government employees at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City.

LaHood’s warnings came amid increasing concern that the automatic cuts, known as the sequester, are going to kick in as scheduled on March 1. LaHood said the furloughs to FAA employees would likely begin in April and cause long delays — at least 90 minutes — at some major airports.

Read more…