The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has highlighted the negative impacts from the recent partial shutdown to the business aviation community.
In a written testimony, submitted for a hearing before the US House Committee on transportation and infrastructure—Putting US Aviation at Risk: The Impact of the Shutdown—which took place on February 13, the NBAA called for ‘a targeted solution to providing the FAA with funding certainty’ during federal government shutdowns.
NBAA also noted that reduced staffing limited the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) to only safety-critical services, leaving such duties as new aircraft registrations, pilot recertification and safety authorizations unattended.
According to the testimony, a Part 135 regional cargo operation was forced to ground four of its five aircraft as the company’s check airman could not renew their authorization to conduct pilot qualification flights, which resulted in ‘serious financial consequences for both the cargo company and the clients that rely upon its service’.
Flight-training providers were among the hardest hit during the shutdown. A critical backlog for approval of flight simulators make it essentially impossible to conduct training activities that are critically needed in the face of an ongoing pilot shortage.
As spokesperson from NBAA said: “Training providers work in close partnership with the FAA, and for this system to generate qualified pilots, there simply cannot be extended government shutdowns where critical authorizations expire.”
The testimony concludes: “The 11,000-member companies with NBAA appreciate the dedication and commitment of FAA employees during the extended shutdown. Through their work, our system continued operating, but we must understand the significant consequences and work to avoid another FAA shutdown in the future.”
The Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2019, introduced by T&I Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-4-OR) and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Rick Larsen (D-2-WA), permits the FAA to continue operations and pay employees during government shutdowns, drawing from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.