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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown: FAA Furloughs 3,000 Aviation Maintenance Inspectors

Woodrow Bellamy III

FAA has furloughed about 3,000 air safety inspectors responsible for conducting safety checks on commercial aircraft as a result of the government shutdown, according to a statement from the industry trade group Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS). 
(FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.)
The federal government shut down Tuesday as a result of both chambers of Congress not agreeing upon a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through Nov. 15. More than 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed. Out of the total of 46,070 FAA employees, 30,556 are exempted from furloughs and will work through the shutdown.
However, some of the furloughed workers perform critical functions within the National Airspace System (NAS). According to PASS, some of the furloughed inspectors are responsible for include in-flight cockpit inspections, airport ramp inspections and emergency response situations in the event of an aircraft incident. 
“There is no doubt that the removal of the rigorous oversight performed by these employees on a daily basis will have a significant impact on this country’s aviation system. Furthermore, forcing these employees off the job will result in a considerable backlog of oversight work they will have to perform when they return to work," said Mike Perrone, national president of PASS. 
Air traffic controllers are remaining on the job during the shutdown, however they are working without pay. The furloughs are also impacting several aviation infrastructure projects, including the opening of a new runway at the Chicago O'Hare Airport, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.
The shutdown is also effecting aviation manufacturers, due to the furloughing of aircraft certification workers, who are necessary to certify new aircraft components. 

"The lifeblood of general aviation manufacturers is their ability to bring new safety-enhancing products to market. The government shutdown will interrupt the flow of innovation, as the hundreds of FAA engineers who oversee and certify general aviation products will be sent home," said General Aviation Manufacturers Association President and CEO Pete Bunce.  


Related: Air Traffic Controllers Continue to Work Through Shutdown

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