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Air base won't see work drop-off as first thought

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. (AP) — Robins Air Force Base won't see a dramatic decline in planes coming into the Georgia base for overhauls.

In March, base officials announced that as a result of across-the-board federal spending cuts, 28 fewer planes would be coming in for overhaul this fiscal year.

Officials now say only one plane will be delayed to the next fiscal year.

Base officials deferred questions to the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Wright-Patterson spokesman John Scaggs said the initial 28-plane estimate was based on a "worst case scenario" for funding that would be available for maintenance under the federal cuts. However, he said cuts were found elsewhere, and some "overflow" C-130 work at Hill Air Force Base in Utah was switched to Robins.

The change from the previous announcement essentially means the workload at Robins stayed the same while six days of work were lost due to furlough days, The Telegraph of Macon reported (http://bit.ly/17d7hCr ).

The end result will be that more planes likely will be finished past the due date, said Retired Maj. Gen. Robert McMahon, president of the 21st Century Partnership.

"You can't accomplish 100 percent of the work in 80 percent of the hours and expect those aircraft to roll out on time," he said. Nearly all civilian employees at Robins were furloughed each Friday for six weeks, which meant a 20 percent reduction in man-hours during that time.

McMahon also noted that overtime was banned during the furlough period, which also impacted the ability to get planes done on time.

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