Advocacy Groups Caution That Impacts May Be Felt For Some Time To Come
With members of Congress finally agreeing to a continuing resolution that will at least suspend the partial government shutdown and allow the debt ceiling to rise, national aviation advocacy groups say the news is welcome, but that it may be some time before things return to normal.
“For the past 17 days, the federal government has been shut down, and the consequences for business aviation have been devastating. Throughout this period, NBAA has tirelessly urged policymakers from every point on the political spectrum, both sides of Capitol Hill and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to find some way forward," said Ed Bolen (pictured), president and CEO of NBAA, in a statement released to the media. "We welcome this agreement for ending the shutdown, because it brings a resolution to an untenable situation."
As the agreement was being finalized, Bolen spoke directly with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. NBAA has consistently raised alarm with Washington policymakers that the government shutdown has halted many vital services provided by the agency, greatly harming the aviation community; specifically, the situation led to the closure of the FAA’s U.S. Aircraft Registry, bringing a stop to the purchase, sale, import, export or maintenance of all aircraft. “While the agreement reached does reopen the government, it may be some time before services at the FAA and other agencies are fully restored to pre-shutdown effectiveness,” Bolen said. He noted that NBAA will keep the industry advised as to continuing shutdown-related developments at the Association’s online resource, nbaa.gov/shutdown, which NBAA developed and has kept up to date since the shutdown began on Oct. 1.
Bolen also noted that, while news of the agreement is most welcome, the Association and industry would need to continue to monitor developments in Washington. “The agreement to end the shutdown runs until the end of 2013, and it is part of a larger, ongoing fiscal-policy debate in Washington,” Bolen said. “That means we may be looking at the same circumstances that led to this shutdown in the not-too-distant future. As always, we will need to remain vigilant, and our industry will need to be ready to mobilize, just as the business aviation community did when the devastating impacts of this shutdown became clear.”
NATA issued a statement saying it is relieved the bipartisan agreement to end the government shutdown had been approved by Congress and sent to the President.
“The government shutdown had and will continue to have negative impacts on many of our NATA members. We need a healthy aviation industry in this country in order to unleash job creation and economic prosperity for local communities. NATA will continue to work with our members, industry colleagues, and the FAA to help the Agency prioritize its aircraft registry backlog so we can reduce the impact on aviation businesses as much and as soon as possible. By working together we can and will get the general aviation industry moving again,” said NATA president and CEO Thomas L. Hendricks (pictured), also is a prepared statement.
NATA members have expressed concerns about the closure of the FAA's aircraft registry office in Oklahoma City, which receives over 10,000 applications each month for aircraft registrations and deregistrations, flight training and pilot certifications, operational specifications, and others that require government attention and action.
GAMA also released a statement welcoming the end of the partial shutdown, saying the furloughs at the FAA and the closure of the FAA Registry office delayed deliveries of more than 150 newly manufactured airplanes with a total value of at least $1.9 billion. Other certification activities were also affected.
“We are pleased our nation’s political leaders finally reached an agreement to end the shutdown, but the work now begins to get the Registry office and other critical FAA functions back up to full speed immediately,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. “It is essential for the general aviation manufacturing industry—and its employees—that the FAA reduce the backlog of new and used aircraft slated for delivery as soon as possible so we can get them to our customers.”
Bunce (pictured) continued, “The FAA must also act quickly to mitigate the shutdown’s other harmful effects on our industry, including the delay of new certification of aircraft, equipment and simulators; training and maintenance; and accident investigations. As just one example, the FAA should consider a blanket exemption for all certifications, authority and qualifications that have or will expire shortly as a result of the shutdown. By taking these actions now, the FAA can begin to address the damage done to our industry by this shutdown and ensure that our companies and their employees can recover.”