Since December 21st, the United States Government has been in a partial shutdown since the Trump Administration is in disagreement about funding. This means that several government agencies such as the Department of Transportation and the Department of Homeland Security are all subject to the shutdown.
In relation to the Department of Transportation, many functions of the Federal Aviation Administration are disrupted. One of the most severe functions disrupted by the shutdown is the disruption of licensing services. These services are essential to pilots as this is the service that issues license renewals. This is also very bad news for newer pilots as FAA written exam results will be delayed indefinitely. Also, new pilots will not receive their certificates due to FAA inspectors being out of work.
New pilot permits are not the only certificates affected by the shutdown, certain training and special flight permits are not being issued. Special permits include ferry permits and special flight permits. Ferry permits are required for aircraft to be transferred from point A to point B for purposes of new ownership or storage. Now, with that being said, these permits are still being issued, however they are taking a lot longer than before the shutdown. Special flight permits are also taking a lot longer to be issued than before. Special flight permits are required for aircraft flight tests and for aircraft to be evacuated from impending danger. This means that if any disaster were to strike the United States, pilots may not be able to get a Special Flight Permit issued in time to evacuate the aircraft, and the aircraft may be lost.
Not only are pilots and aircraft affected, but another affected group is air traffic controllers. There is a lot of concern about air traffic controllers being payed and trained. Since the shutdown, air traffic controllers have not been payed nor have they been trained. At the only training facility in Oklahoma City, students were told to go home at the beginning of the shutdown, and to reapply in six months to a year. This is a huge setback because when a air traffic controller needs to be hired to fill a necessary position, there will be no one to fill it. This has sparked protests from air traffic controllers all over the country. In cities such as Raleigh, Cincinnati and Miami, air traffic controllers are staging themselves in airports, handing out pamphlets and educating the public about the impact the shutdown has on the aviation industry.
The impact of the shutdown has affected everyone involved in aviation in the United States. Experts are saying that safety is starting to decrease, and that air travel is suffering. Airline growth has been stalled, and no one is benefiting. The only question now is when will it end?