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US government shutdown grounds aviation safety specialists

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS), National President Mike Perrone released the following statement regarding the government shutdown’s impact on aviation safety.

“Since President Trump has failed to reach agreement with Congress—not once, but three times since September 30—to fully fund the federal government, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspectors were off the job as of midnight last night.

These PASS-represented employees—more than 4,000—are responsible for the oversight, certification and surveillance of the entire American aviation system, including all general aviation and commercial aircraft, pilots and flight instructors, and repair stations both in this country and abroad. PASS is outraged that the FAA would consider these employees as playing anything but a pivotal role in protecting the safety of the American flying public. Furloughing this critical workforce is neither in the best interest of the economy nor the oversight of the U.S. aviation system.

“For each day the government is closed, aviation safety inspectors will not be providing oversight of commercial and general aviation aircraft, pilots, flight instructors, and domestic and foreign repair stations; conducting in-flight cockpit inspections or ramp inspections; overseeing third-party designees performing critical work on behalf of the FAA or air carriers; or issuing new or renewing current certificates.

“Manufacturing inspectors will not be providing manufacturing production approval and certification, will not be evaluating aviation mechanics, facilities, training programs and equipment, or addressing issues related to manufacturing facilities.

“Modernization of the National Airspace System (NAS) will be stopped in its tracks, with training and progress of initiatives suffering delays and considerable setbacks. Every FAA employee will be impacted by the shutdown, whether it is being forced off the job or continuing to serve the agency and their country without pay.

“Aviation plays a critical role in the nation’s economy and provides invaluable services to the flying public and the military. The aviation system provides $1.5 trillion through the commercial aviation industry and 12 million American jobs. It is crucial that such a major aspect of this country’s economic engine have the necessary financial resources it needs through a stable funding stream for the FAA.

“The safety of the flying public depends on aviation safety inspectors, and this safety should never be compromised, as it will be during this shutdown. PASS calls on members of Congress to work swiftly to end the shutdown and allow all employees at the FAA to get back to work to ensure the safety of America’s aviation system.”