The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has joined more than 30 aviation industry groups and unions in urging the federal government to end the partial government shutdown, citing its harmful effects on the industry.
In a joint letter to President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the aviation group wrote, “As the partial shutdown continues, the human and economic consequences are increasing and doing greater harm.
“Civil aviation supports more than 7% of the US gross domestic product and US$1.5tn of economic impact, creating over 11.5 million jobs, but this shutdown is hampering our ability to function effectively.”
The letter cited several areas of concern to the industry, including hardships faced by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) staff, air traffic controllers and others aviation industry professionals working without pay. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel also are working without pay and facing financial hardships.
With fewer transportation security officers available to screen travelers at checkpoints, the letter claims wait times will grow and larger crowds will be forced to congregate in public areas of airports. In some cases, checkpoints may have to be closed as a result of the shutdown.
Other concerns raised by the group include the suspension of air traffic controller training, slowing the arrival of new workers to a system already at a 30-year low; the curtailing of general aviation aircraft certification and work on safety-related airworthiness directives; and the prevention of the FAA from issuing new student pilot certificates, halting training for prospective pilots.
Ed Bolen, NBAA president and CEO, said, “General aviation is among the nation’s most regulated industries, with daily oversight and essential services provided by a host of federal agencies.
“These disruptions to services are already visible, and if history is a guide, the impact from the shutdown could increase as the shutdown continues. Like all aviation stakeholders, we want the president and Congress to come to an agreement that ends the shutdown, and restores the critical services needed by the aviation community.”
NBAA has also prepared a message that members can send to their federal representatives via the association’s online contact congress tool. The letter states, in part, “While policy disagreements are understandable, we cannot allow this shutdown to threaten our aviation system. General aviation is a US$219bn industry providing more than a million American jobs and much of that depends on the government being open for business.”