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Does Fiscal Cliff Bring GA Skyfall?

Essential services maintained; Possible delays in other areas

December 31, 2012 - With the likelihood of a deal diminishing to prevent the federal budget's "fiscal cliff" at the start of 2013, EAA and other aviation organizations are looking at the possible effects of the mandatory cuts that would start later this week.

Barring a last-second spending and tax deal between the White House and Congressional negotiators, FAA would see just over $1 billion in required cuts to its $15 billion budget, or about six percent according to figures from the Office of Management and Budget. These cuts could be spread over the entire remainder of the federal year, though Sept. 30, 2013, which would lessen any immediate blow to aviation services.

Essential services, such as air traffic control and aviation safety operations, would continue without any impact, according to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. Where aviators may see delays and cutbacks, however, would be in other operations that may include aircraft certification, Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval, and other administrative activities. It would also likely delay advancements in projects such as NextGen. It's not known at this time whether budget cutbacks would affect medical certification operations, such as approval of special issuances.

Bloomberg News reported that John Porcari, deputy secretary at the Department of Transportation, said this is a different situation than the 2011 partial FAA shutdown that furloughed 4,000 employees for 16 days and halted airport construction funds.

EAA and other aviation groups will continue to monitor the budget situation and how it would affect GA both immediately and in the long term.

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