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Aviation Expert: Sequester Will Be Rough on Airlines

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The aviation researcher behind the annual Airline Quality Rating report says the upcoming federally mandated FAA cutbacks spurred by the sequester will smear the reputation of airlines and lose them business, perhaps permanently. Brent Bowen, head of aviation technology at Purdue, expects flight delays, canceled flights and fewer flights scheduled if a furlough of FAA employees is forced by across-the-board federal budget constraints set to kick in Friday (March 1). The interim director of Gary/Chicago International Airport said this week if budget cuts happen, the control tower at Gary Airport will close, but the airport itself will stay open.
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[Purdue] WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The aviation researcher behind the annual Airline Quality Rating Report says the upcoming federally mandated FAA cutbacks will smear the reputation of airlines and lose them business, perhaps permanently.
Brent Bowen, head of aviation technology at Purdue University, expects flight delays, canceled flights and fewer flights scheduled if a furlough of FAA employees is forced by across-the-board federal budget constraints set to kick in Friday (March 1). He describes the ramifications as "one more nail in the coffin" of the airline industry.
"It's just more negative complications for travelers who are already concerned with safety issues and burdened by often-inefficient safety protocols," Bowen said. "Passengers will immediately perceive the industry to be getting worse, and many will choose not to fly."
Bowen said the airline industry will be unfairly tarred by a situation mired in politics. But he says there may be one glimmer of hope for a quick resolution of the problem.
"Members of Congress are some of the most frequent flyers in the nation and often even less tolerant than the general population when it comes to travel delays and interuptions," Bowen said. "They have more power than you or I do to improve the situation."
Bowen is in Chicago at an international conference on Thursday (Feb. 28) to speak about problems in the industry, including the ongoing Boeing Dreamliner battery problem and the upcoming American Airlines merger. He will be available to media.
Bowen's Airline Quality Rating report will be unveiled April 8 at the Natonal Press Club in Washington, D.C. His research includes a breakdown of federally collected industry statistics and collated input from thousands of frequent flyers.
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