National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) president and CEO Ed Bolen has warned Washington DC policymakers that the government shutdown, which took effect on January 20, could have serious repercussions for general aviation.
The government-wide shutdown has led to work furloughs – unpaid leave – for hundreds of thousands of federal employees, affecting services provided by nearly all government agencies. The shutdown was caused when the government missed a deadline when lawmakers failed to agree on a spending bill.
Commenting on the events, Bolen said, “General aviation is among the nation’s most regulated industries, with daily oversight and essential services provided by several federal agencies. If history is any guide, this shutdown could severely impact the industry, jeopardizing jobs and causing economic harm.
“General aviation also depends on services and decision making from myriad other agencies, including the Department of Transportation, the Transportation Security Administration and US Customs and Border Protection.”
In a letter to US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Elaine Chao, six general aviation (GA) leaders have called for reopening the FAA’s Aircraft Registry. Even during a government shutdown, certain essential functions are exempted from closure. The letter cites several national security, law enforcement and aviation safety functions that rely on the US Registry, as well as treaties related to the registration of aircraft.
The closure of the US Registry also precludes the delivery of aircraft. General aviation aircraft and parts cannot be purchased, sold, financed or maintained without the written approval of the FAA personnel who staff the registry. According to the FAA, 10,000 aircraft registrations expire each month.
Mark Baker, president and CEO, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Ed Bolen, president and CEO, NBAA; Pete Bunce, president and CEO, General Aviation Manufacturers Association; Martin Hiller, president, National Air Transportation Association; Jack Pelton, chairman and CEO, Experimental Aircraft Association; and Matthew Zuccaro, president and CEO, Helicopter Association International, all signed the letter.
The last government shutdown was in 2013, and lasted for 16 days.