Aviation industry to Trump and Congress: End the government shutdown

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    A coalition of aviation industry groups from the Air Line Pilots Association to the U.S. Travel Association sent a letter to President Trump and congressional leaders Thursday, urging an end to the second longest government shutdown.

    “This partial shutdown has already inflicted real damage to our nation’s aviation system and the impacts will only worsen over time,” the letter says. “We urge you to act quickly to resolve these issues.”

    The letter from 34 associations highlights 11 major areas of concern affecting travel, including:

    Longer airport wait times and possible checkpoint shutdowns: “Nearly all TSA and CBP (Customers and Border Protection) personnel are working without pay, which creates a severe financial hardship for many. Many are warning that several Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) are living paycheck to paycheck and will be forced to find other work, without any means to replace them. We expect workforce capacity issues will increase the longer the government is partially shut down and employees face working without the certainty of a paycheck. This could result in significant operational impacts at airports across the country.”

    More: TSA Union: Officers quitting over shutdown

    The groups said a decline in the number of TSA agents screening travelers means “wait times will grow and larger crowds will be forced to congregate in public areas of airports.”

    Checkpoints may have to be closed in some cases, they say.

    “Some airports are already struggling to keep up with a record number of travelers, and reduced staffing levels will exacerbate problems in the near-term and into the busy spring and summer travel seasons,” the letter says. “Reduced staffing levels are of particular concern at airports that have high-profile events ongoing or scheduled to occur in the near future, including major trade shows and sporting events.”

    The shutdown has also closed CBP’s trusted traveler program, Global Entry

    Aircraft safety: “Most of the FAA staff who certify the safety of aircraft
    have been furloughed and safety reporting and oversight systems have been
    suspended. This is critical to resolving identified issues. The continued
    shutdown of these certification functions will also delay some companies in
    bringing their products to market and hurt deliveries and exports. We
    understand and appreciate that the FAA is committed to bringing all safety
    inspectors back to work, but it is not currently clear whether they will be able
    to perform key functions impacting operations.”

    Air Traffic Control: “Training of air traffic controllers has been
    suspended, slowing the arrival of new workers in a system that is already at a
    30-year low. As the shutdown persists, excepted air traffic controllers and
    workers in technical operations, who operate and maintain safety-critical
    navigational aids, surveillance, and communications equipment, are
    performing highly skilled and safety-critical services without pay. Moreover,
    the shutdown strains resources that are available for maintaining and
    servicing these critical ATC systems.”

    Pilot training: “The FAA is unable to issue new student pilot certificates, which has halted training for countless prospective pilots. Similarly, the FAA is unable to issue certifications required for current pilots to upgrade their position meaning these pilots will experience a delay in their planned upgrades until the shutdown is resolved. The FAA is not processing mandated pilot background checks (PRIA). These are critical for continuity of operations – without these PRIA authorizations, new hire pilot training is at a standstill.”

     

    The letter was signed by 34 associations:

    Aerospace Industries Association
    Aeronautical Repair Station Association
    Air Line Pilots Association
    Air Medical Operators Association
    Air Traffic Control Association
    Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
    Airlines for America
    Airport Consultants Council
    Airports Council International-North America
    American Association of Airport Executives
    Association of Air Medical Services
    Association of Flight Attendants – CWA
    Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems Int’l
    Aviation Suppliers Association
    Aviation Technician Education Council
    Cargo Airline Association
    Commercial Drone Alliance
    Commercial Spaceflight Federation
    Experimental Aircraft Association
    General Aviation Manufacturers Association
    Helicopter Association International
    International Air Transport Association
    International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Airline Division
    Modification and Replacement Parts Association
    National Air Carrier Association
    National Air Traffic Controllers Association
    National Air Transportation Association
    National Association of State Aviation Officials
    National Business Aviation Association
    Professional Aviation Maintenance Association
    Regional Airline Association
    Security Manufacturers Coalition
    Travelers United
    U.S. Travel Association

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