Travelers feel little effects from FAA shutdown

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's been three days since funding shut down for the Federal Aviation Administration, and all non-essential employees were put on furlough.

Many travelers picking up their bags Monday said the FAA shutdown had no impact on their air travel.

That's because essential FAA workers such as air traffic controllers remain on the job despite the shutdown.

4,000 other FAA workers, deemed non-essential like hundreds at the FAA tech center near Atlantic City, were put on furlough.

The center focuses on long-term research and development.

Also impacted are FAA-related construction projects at a number of sites across the country. This includes a new $20 million tower being built in Wilkes-Barre, which received a stop order.

There is no impact in Philadelphia as there is no ongoing construction.

The shutdown means that airlines, for now, are no longer collecting some federal taxes on tickets.

This doesn't mean a tax break for all travelers. It does not include major carriers like US Airways and Southwest who opted to hike their basic fares instead.

Many travelers are unaware of the price hikes, but businessman David Cavagnaro says he understands given fuel cost pressures.

"They can't stay functional as a business unit unless they take prices up. Everyone has to take price increases. I'm not surprised, it's basic business," said Cavagnaro.

Some small airlines did pass on the tax savings.

Spirit Airlines that serves Atlantic City and is known for charging passengers for carry-on luggage, declared it would pass on the tax savings to those buying tickets during the FAA shutdown.

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