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What Does Government Shutdown Mean for Repair Stations?

On Jan. 22, the president signed a short-term deal to end the three-day old federal government shutdown. The current bill reinstates funds for government programs only through Feb. 8, meaning the White House and Congress will be in the same position in just three weeks’ time. Considering this state of affairs and relative instability, it behooves anyone working in a regulated industry – businesses that regularly deal directly with the government – to understand how services will change during times when regulators may not be able to go to work (or at least have a full workforce).

For the aviation maintenance community, what is the impact of a government shutdown?

Given the large number of services considered “essential” – those related to security and public safety – some parts of the government that deal with aviation matters will remain open. Air traffic control and TSA security at airports won’t be affected. However, more 17,000 FAA personnel will be furloughed. 

The Department of Transportation has released a document that provides a comprehensive overview of how it and its subsidiaries will be affected by the shutdown. The following activities at FAA will be suspended until normal government operations resume:

  • Development of new air traffic control specialists not certified to work a position.
  • Issuance of airmen certificates.
  • Approval of exemptions for unmanned aerial systems operations.
  • The FAA’s aircraft registry will close, delaying deliveries of new aircraft, and stopping the sale of used planes.
  • Aviation rulemaking.
  • Facility security inspections, evaluations, audits and inspections.
  • Routine personnel security background investigations.
  • Development, operational testing, and evaluation of NextGen technologies.
  • Development of NextGen safety standards.
  • Air traffic performance analysis.
  • Capital planning for FAA facilities and equipment.
  • Investment planning and financial analysis.
  • Dispute resolution.
  • Audit and evaluation.
  • Financial operations, controls, reporting and accountability.
  • Most budgeting functions (except those necessary to provide necessary services to offices funded with multi-year appropriations and contract authority).
  • Employee drug testing program.
  • Law enforcement assistance support.
  • Most administrative support functions not required for support of life and safety “excepted” positions.
  • Congressional liaison services.

The following FAA activities are exempted and will continue during the shutdown:

  • Air traffic control services.
  • Maintenance and operation of navigational aids and other facilities, including support to reimbursable Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security activities.
  • Flight Standards field inspections (limited).
  • Airmen medical certifications.
  • Aircraft certification services (limited).
  • Hazardous materials safety inspections.
  • Security information communication services.
  • Continuity of Operations Planning.
  • Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATCS) medical clearances.
  • Air traffic safety oversight (limited).
  • On-call accident investigations.
  • Commercial space launch oversight.
  • Command, control, and communications (i.e., Regions and HQ Operations Centers).
  • Foreign relations on aviation safety-related matters.

As part of our on-going advocacy on the industry’s behalf, ARSA is in constant contact with policymakers in the administration and Congress. Be ready to help the association provide real-life feedback on impacts of government work stoppages. If (or when) the government shuts down again, send emails to christian.klein@arsa.org advising about the impact on your company and its ability to serve customers.



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