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NBAA: Potential FAA Shutdown Unlikely to Disrupt Business Flying

July 22, 2011

Should it occur, a temporary FAA shutdown starting Friday night, June 22, shouldn't be disruptive to NBAA Members, according to Steve Brown, NBAA Senior Vice President, Operations and Administration. In fact, he said, many business aviation operators may not notice that a portion of the FAA has been temporarily shuttered if the congressional impasse over FAA reauthorization is quickly resolved.

Congress has been debating a long-term FAA "reauthorization" bill since 2007, when the reauthorization bill expired. Congress has passed 20 previous extensions to FAA funding until a final FAA reauthorization measure can be approved.

The current FAA spending authorization expires at midnight on July 22. Previous potential shutdowns of the FAA have been resolved in a few days with no disruption of air traffic or other essential functions, and Brown said he hoped any shutdown resulting from disagreement in congress this week over the specifics of an FAA funding extension would also be of short duration.

Brown said that fears of massive delays in the ATC system are not realistic, since only a relatively small number of FAA employees would face furloughs, most in areas focused on research, equipment installations and long-term airport projects. Critical daily functions such as Air Traffic Control (ATC) services, and ATC support functions such as weather service, the ATC command center and flow control would continue without disruption.