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HomeLatest NewsFAA braces for dual government shutdowns this weekend: Here's why

FAA braces for dual government shutdowns this weekend: Here’s why

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is facing a potential double government shutdown as its funding deadline coincides with the deadline to renew the law that supports its existence. If both deadlines pass without renewal, air traffic controllers and some aviation safety inspectors would continue to work without pay, but training for new air traffic controllers would cease and technology upgrades would be disrupted. Furthermore, the FAA would lose over $50 million in daily revenue from taxes on airline tickets and fuel. This comes at a challenging time for the agency, which has already experienced leadership issues, staffing shortages, and technological failures throughout the year. The Senate has tied the fate of the FAA to broader government funding, while the House is considering a separate bill to keep the FAA running. Airline industry groups are urging lawmakers to extend the FAA law, highlighting the agency’s importance to the economy and the potential negative impact of any interruption to its programs.
A potential shutdown would lead to the furlough of over 17,000 FAA workers and jeopardize airport construction projects. Essential safety positions would still be required to work without pay, and the agency would also have to halt training for newly hired air traffic controllers. This could disrupt efforts to boost staffing levels at control towers and other facilities. The consequences of a government shutdown would extend beyond the FAA itself, affecting the U.S. travel economy and potentially costing up to $140 million a day in economic losses. However, if ticket taxes were to lapse, airlines could pass on these savings to customers, although past experience has shown that airlines may choose to keep prices steady instead. Meanwhile, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has assured that 59,000 of its employees, who are considered essential, would continue working during a shutdown. However, an extended shutdown could result in longer screening times at airports, as experienced during the previous shutdown. TSA Administrator David Pekoske emphasized the difficulties faced by employees who work without pay and warned of potential impacts on their ability to get to work and meet essential expenses.
To ensure the smooth functioning of the FAA and avoid disruptions to the aviation industry and the broader economy, lawmakers are being urged to extend the FAA law. The FAA plays a critical role in maintaining the safety and efficiency of the U.S. aviation system, which contributes significantly to the country’s GDP and job creation. A shutdown would undermine public confidence, interrupt progress on important initiatives, and impede advancements in safety, efficiency, innovation, and airport infrastructure. While the potential lapse in ticket taxes could result in savings for passengers, these savings are not guaranteed and airlines may choose to keep prices unchanged, as seen in previous instances. The consequences of a shutdown extend beyond the FAA, with potential economic losses for the U.S. travel industry and concerns about longer screening times at airports by the TSA. The impact on employees, who work without pay and face difficulties in meeting essential expenses, is also a significant concern.

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