In an interview Wednesday, Robert Isom, chief operations officer of US Airways, said, "In the airline business, you try to eliminate uncertainty. Some factors you can't control, like weather. It (the FAA issue) is worse than the weather."
In a shift, first the White House and then senior Democratic lawmakers signaled a willingness in the past two days to support legislation that alleviates the budget crunch at the FAA, while leaving the balance of the $85 billion to remain in effect.
Obama favors a comprehensive agreement that replaces the entire $85 billion in across-the-board cuts as part of a broader deficit-reduction deal that includes higher taxes and spending cuts.
Officials estimate it would cost slightly more than $200 million to restore air traffic controllers to full staffing, and an additional $50 million to keep open smaller air traffic towers around the country that the FAA has proposed closing.
Associated Press writers Joan Lowy, Henry C. Jackson and Alan Fram in Washington and David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.
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