Aviation industry groups are continuing their calls for an end to the government shutdown, which entered its 10th day on Thursday, as air traffic controllers continue to work with no pay and manufacturers find operations stalled by the closing of FAA's Aircraft Registry Office.
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) all released statements calling for an end to the shutdown. All three groups say they have been adversely impacted by the inability of their member organizations to register new aircraft with FAA during the shutdown.
“With the FAA Aircraft Registry office closed, more than 150 newly manufactured aircraft worth more than $1.9 billion will be delayed by mid-October. Our message to the nation’s political leaders is clear: End the shutdown now," said Jens Hennig, vice president of operations at GAMA.
On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta urging him to review the agency's determination of the aircraft registry office as "non-essential" under its government-shutdown contingency plan. The agency recalled more than 800 of its furloughed air safety workers this week, none of which work at the registry office.
“The closure of the Aircraft Registry office has a serious impact on American aircraft manufacturers and related industries, because it prevents the delivery of newly manufactured aircraft,” reads the Oct. 9 letter, sent by Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), who was joined in signing the letter by Sens. James Inhofe (R-OK), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Pat Roberts (R-KS).
NBAA President Ed Bolen said his group "welcomes this Senate letter," and welcomes "all measures that bring attention to the fact that the aviation community is hurting."
NATCA hosted a rally Thursday on the steps of Capitol Hill calling for an end to the government shutdown. Paul Rinaldi, president of NATCA, released a statement in support of the Federal Worker Pay Fairness Act, a bill that would pay federal employees, such as air traffic controllers, who are currently working without pay.
"Federal employees such as air traffic controllers who are excepted have been working since October 1st without pay with the expectation that they will be paid at some point after the shutdown is resolved. Needless to say, forcing them to work without pay has had a negative effect on morale, and adds stress to their already stressful work as they wonder how long the shutdown will continue, and how they will pay their bills," said Rinaldi.
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