FAA is recalling some of its airline and aircraft safety inspectors furloughed by the government shutdown now entering its eighth day Tuesday.
More than 800 workers from its Office of Aviation Safety were recalled this week. These workers had been deemed nonessential under the Department of Transportation's (DoT) lapse in annual appropriations plan.
Under the limited recall, about 200 engineers, inspectors and safety staff will return to FAA's Aircraft Certification Service, and more than 600 airline safety inspectors will return to the Flight Standards Service at airports across the country. The Office of Aerospace Medicine will also see 25 physicians and support staff return to work to support the Air Traffic Controller health program.
One segment of the agency that will remain furloughed is general aviation (GA) accident investigators.
"In the event of a general aviation accident, the FAA will collect information from local law enforcement, emergency responders and other officials, to conduct a basic investigation. If investigators identify an urgent high risk that requires additional resources, the agency would recall the necessary personnel to respond to the matter. The FAA is not responding to GA accidents with on-site investigation," the agency said.
As the shutdown continues, the agency said it will continue to evaluate safety risks within the National Airspace System (NAS), and continue recalling support staff to address emergency needs.
In a statement, Mike Perrone, national president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS) a trade union for aviation safety inspectors, said safety inspectors need to be back on the job immediately.
"Before this shutdown, understaffing of the aviation safety inspector workforce was a serious issue; now, for every minute these inspectors are off the job, the backlog of their oversight and surveillance continues to grow. As we enter the second week of the government shutdown, Congress must immediately work to end the shutdown and put an end to undermining the critical work these inspectors perform," Perrone said.