Sequestration: Flight delays in Coastal Empire? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Sequestration: Flight delays in Coastal Empire?

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It's an old Southern joke: To get to heaven or that other place you have to go through Atlanta.

Unless you really like spending time at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, commercial flights may not be heaven once sequestration cuts to the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the Transportation Security Administration go into effect.

WTOC on Friday sat down with Patrick Graham, executive director of the Savannah Airport Commission, and he doesn't expect longer security lines here at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. Graham thinks most of the local TSA cuts will be management positions, not the workers who screen passengers.

Graham expects to see the biggest back-up on international flights. And in Savannah, none of those flights are commercial passenger planes.

"From a domestic standpoint with us not too bad," Graham said. "Coming back, you know, if you go through Atlanta and come back through Atlanta, security is probably going to be an issue. Going out of here, you're going to be fine, but coming back through the larger cities is where you really see the effect."

The Coastal Empire and Lowcountry aren't expected to escape air cuts entirely unscathed. The FAA has said Hilton Head Airport's air traffic control tower may be shut down when sequestration takes effect. Savannah would monitor Hilton Head traffic, and Graham says that's a workload current controllers safely can handle.

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