Industry Leaders Voice Growing Concerns about Shutdown see more
Business aviation leaders are expressing growing concern about the increasing ramifications of the prolonged partial U.S. government shutdown. “It is clear that the shutdown’s impact is being felt,” NBAA said in an update to its members today, pointing the cessation of activities such as the issuance of new pilot certificates and letters of authorization.
In addition, training centers are concerned about the possibility for expiration of authorizations for evaluators and flight training devices, and certification of aircraft and equipment is affected. Further, the association has been concerned that Customs and Border Protection is not processing requests for new overflight exemptions.
The FAA has indicated plans for a number of safety inspectors to return to work, but details about which functions will resume remain unclear, the association said, adding the primary focus is anticipated to be on safety surveillance.
“Since the partial government shutdown began on December 21, our nation’s aviation system has functioned safely and efficiently thanks to the hard work of dedicated FAA professionals,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “That said, general aviation is a highly regulated industry, so it’s no surprise that some service disruptions are becoming visible.”
NATA agreed, saying the aviation industry is one of the hardest hit because of safety and security requirements. “The shutdown has halted work on new aircraft certification, interactions between FAA and other nations, some aircraft registrations, commercial drone flight authorizations, aircraft mechanic licenses, introduction of new air traffic technology and airport construction approvals.”
The effect has been “very real” for controllers and other workers missing paychecks, NATA said.
The association further pointed to specific disruptions, such as a member company that has had two aircraft stranded in Canada, awaiting FAA approval to return. Others have had issues with ferry permits and/or special flight permits, both domestic and international-bound flights and NetJets has not been able to add new aircraft into its operations, NATA added. Training companies, including FlightSafety International, have reported multiple delays and cancellations.
GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce, meanwhile, warned during a recent rally that even though the aircraft registry is open, the FAA and DOT have taken a narrow view of what is authorized registry activities, hampering its full use. If the shutdown was to continue in the next few weeks, the costs could run into the billions, he added.
The associations were among the more than 30 organizations signing a letter last week to leaders on Capitol Hill, outlining some of the many ramifications and urging them to work to end the shutdown.
Another signatory of that letter, NATCA, meanwhile, has taken a multipronged effort to put pressure on the government to end the shutdown, through a rally, leaflet campaign, and lawsuit. The organization, however, did welcome passage and signing into law of the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019, which guarantees back pay to federal employees affected by the shutdown. But NATCA president Paul Rinaldi added, “There is no reason to keep employees home and furloughed now that they are guaranteed their pay. Our elected leaders need to be responsible stewards of American taxpayer dollars and end this shutdown immediately.”
He added that the shutdown is “eroding the layers of redundancy and support necessary” for the National Airspace System.
This article was originally published on AINonline on January 17, 2019.
Government shutdown update: pre-owned fine but problems with new aircraft deliveries see more
NAFA member Alasdair Whyte, Editor and Co-Founder of Corporate Jet Investor, shares government shutdown update and how it affects new aircraft deliveries.
The US Federal Aviation Administration has resolved a technical issue stopping new title searches.
The Registry Modernization System (RMS) in Kansas City stopped working on Friday evening but was restored within a few hours.
This is great news and means that pre-owned aircraft transactions can be completed again.
However, there are big issues getting Certificates of Airworthiness (CofA) for new aircraft. Right now, the Designated Airworthiness Representatives (DARs) have blanket authority to act independently, which resolved the issue on used aircraft CofAs.
But the Aircraft Certification Offices are still closed, so no new aircraft can be certified, which is required before the DAR can issue the CofA.
Part of the issue is that the FAA systems themselves are very old and prone to frequently breaking. IT staff at the Kansas City facility where the FAA mainframe is located, have also been furloughed.
No reasons were given for the RMS outage. NAFA, the National Aircraft Finance Association, said in a release that inclement weather in Kansas City could have played a role in the outage.
One lawyer suggested that the FAA might not even know themselves how the issue was fixed “They probably sent somebody back in the back and they slapped it a couple times.” He said.
The FAA said: “Due to the lapse in government funding, we are unable to respond to media questions at this time."
This article was originally published by Corporate Jet Investor on January 16, 2019.
FAA Recalling Furloughed Safety Personnel see more
More than 2,000 FAA inspectors and engineers furloughed due to the partial government shutdown that began on Dec. 22 have been recalled to work, according to an FAA statement made on Tuesday. The latest revision of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plan for operations during the shutdown (PDF) now categorizes a total of 3,113 Aviation Safety positions as necessary for life and safety and therefore excepted from furlough. The previous version (PDF) of the plan listed only 216 life-and-safety excepted Aviation Safety positions.
"We are recalling inspectors and engineers to perform duties to ensure continuous operational safety of the entire national airspace," said an FAA spokesperson in Tuesday’s statement. "We proactively conduct risk assessment, and we have determined that after three weeks it is appropriate to recall inspectors and engineers." According to the DOT’s revised shutdown plan, some previously suspended activities will also be resumed including “certain evaluations, audits and inspections” and “certain certification activities.”
As with other federal employees still at work, the recalled personnel are not expected to receive paychecks during the shutdown. More than 24,000 jobs at the Air Traffic Organization, which is responsible for providing safe and efficient air navigation services in the U.S., make up the majority of life-and-safety excepted positions at the FAA. 13,944 FAA employees will remain furloughed of a total 44,687 positions.
This article was originally published by Kate O'Connor with AVweb flash on January 18, 2019.