Sequestration-Driven Flight Delays Place 83,000 American Jobs and $9 Billion in U.S. Economic Output at Risk

U.S. Travel Association Urges FAA to Insulate Critical Personnel from Budget Cuts; Calls on Congress to Enact Legislative Fix

Washington, D.C., 2013-04-25— / — The U.S. Travel Association today released a new analysis of the cost of flight delays resulting from announced Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) furloughs of air traffic control personnel in response to budget sequestration.

Based on FAA’s assessment that 6,700 flights per day across the United States could be delayed as a result of personnel furloughs, U.S. Travel applied its well-developed economic model to estimate* that:

  • This level of ongoing flight delays could cost the U.S. $9.3 billion in lost economic output directly associated with travelers’ spending between April and October 1, when the new fiscal year begins.
  • Total tax revenue losses would amount to $1.4 billion ($775 million to the federal government and $644 million to state and local governments).
  • Worse, sequestration-related delays could jeopardize an estimated 83,400 American jobs.
  • These estimates do not even include the operational costs borne by airlines.

“Travel has led U.S. economic recovery and supports one out of eight American jobs. Throttling this engine of growth by disrupting air travel makes no sense,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “We remain deeply concerned about predicted air travel delays, and we urge the FAA to insulate critical air traffic control personnel from sequestration-driven furloughs.

“We also urge Congress to enact a longer-term solution by swiftly passing legislation that ensures the smooth functioning of America’s vital air travel system. U.S. Travel supports the recently introduced bipartisan ‘Dependable Air Service Act of 2013’, led by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and the ‘Essential Services Act of 2013’ introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO).”

As part of its response to the expected air travel delays, last Friday U.S. Travel reactivated its mobile messaging campaign. Travelers can text “DELAYED” to 877-877 to receive easy-to-use instructions on how to share their opinions about travel delays with Members of Congress.

* The estimated economic cost of flight delays includes the opportunity cost for air passengers and the avoided air travel trips by both domestic and international passengers as a result of ongoing delays. Estimates exclude U.S.-originated international outbound travel and operational costs borne by airlines.

Cathy Keefe (202) 408-2183


The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.0 trillion in economic output and supports 14.6 million jobs. U.S. Travel’s mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.