Budget cuts hit North Island aircraft maintenance jobs

At North Island Naval Air Station, Allen Kosmalski and Myra Balina look over the F/A-18 Hornet that was painted to resemble a Korean War Corsair fighter. UT San Diego – by Jeanette Steele

The Navy announced Tuesday that budget cuts will force it to reduce aircraft maintenance at its North Island Naval Air Station depot, putting up to 480 jobs in jeopardy at two civilian contracting firms.

Navy F/A-18s, C-2s and E-2s and helicopters go to Fleet Readiness Center Southwest at the Coronado air base for regular overhauls. About 2,700 civilian government employees do the work, alongside 1,000 uniformed service members and roughly 480 contract employees.

The civilian federal employees will likely face furloughs that the Pentagon announced last week. But the contract workers face the prospect of layoffs.

Affordable Engineering Services has 440 contractors working at the North Island maintenance depot. President Dan Kamdar said he expects to issue layoff notices to 103 people on Friday.

That’s the first day of the sequester, the automatic $1.2 trillion in federal budget cuts over a decade that will commence unless Congress acts to halt it. Half of that is slated to be taken out of U.S. defense spending. The Navy is also facing a spending shortfall because Congress has not passed a 2013 budget, forcing the military to live within 2012 limits.

Kamdar said more layoff notices may come in the future. The workers are machinists, sheet-metal workers and electricians who earn $20 to $30 an hour.

National Technologies Associates, another contractor, employs about 40 people at the North Island depot.

The Navy also announced maintenance reductions at aircraft depots in Cherry Point, N.C., and and Jacksonville, Fla.

In San Diego, the cuts affect 124 aircraft or components, which equates to 478,000 work hours, the Navy said.


Start the Conversation

Your email address will not be published.