January, three aviation organizations issued a statement over their growing
concern for air traffic controllers, flight attendants, pilots, and the public
at large while the partial U.S. government shutdown is now at 34 days with no clear
resolution in sight.
“In our risk
averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play,
nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is
unprecedented,” the statement said. The letter was signed by the National Air
Traffic Controllers Association, the Air Line Pilots Association, and the Association
of Flight Attendants.
the associations said, could also result in a negative feedback effect on
future staffing, which for air traffic control facilities is already at a
30-year low. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a hiring
freeze and closed its training academy in response to the shutdown.
“Almost 20 percent of [certified professional controllers] are eligible to retire today,” the
letter said. “There are no options to keep these professionals at work without
a paycheck when they can no longer afford to support their families. When they
elect to retire, the National Airspace System (NAS) will be crippled.”
number of TSA officers began calling in sick while others quit, citing the personal financial cost of the shutdown
we are not confident that system-wide analyses of safety reporting data, which
is used to identify and implement corrective actions in order to reduce risks
and prevent accidents is 100 percent operational due to reduced FAA resources,” the
Since the shutdown, essential government
employees have worked without pay for more than a month, and the effects of a dwindling
staff include security checkpoint closures and longer lines for passengers
trying to catch their flights. Speaking from Reagan National Airport
January, U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tm Kaine (D-VA) touched on the financial,
emotional, and security impacts seen in the aviation industry.