The Government Shutdown and Business Aviation

Bookmark and Share

Impact of the Government Shutdown on General Aviation

Updated Jan. 20, 2018

General aviation is an industry that is heavily regulated by the federal government. General aviation aircraft and parts can’t be produced, financed, bought, or sold without the written approval of the federal government. In some cases, an aircraft can’t even move without federal approval. For decades, the United States has been the world leader in every aspect of general aviation from production to operation. It is a key part of our nation’s manufacturing base and is one of the few industries making a positive impact on our balance of trade. It is also predominately an industry of small businesses. In every corner of America, small companies sell fuel, build hangars, and broker airplane transactions. Over 1.2 million Americans owe their livelihood to general aviation. The government shutdown is quickly strangling one of America’s most significant but fragile industries – general aviation.

The impact of the government shutdown is wide reaching and evolving. This information will be updated as NBAA members and other aircraft operators submit impact reports to NBAA.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

By closing the FAA Registration Branch in Oklahoma City, the government shutdown has effectively brought to a halt the U.S. general aviation industry and is jeopardizing the future of thousands of U.S. small businesses.

The closure of the FAA Registry has halted virtually all aircraft-related transactions. The following specific examples illustrate the harmful impact of the shutdown:

Aircraft Purchase/Sale Impacts

  • With the inability to register airplanes, some buyers are reconsidering their purchase decision altogether and trying to get out of deals due to timing issues.
  • International aircraft deals are suffering because buyers cannot import/export aircraft. With the registry closed, U.S. registered aircraft will begin to look less attractive as foreign buyers won’t be able to close transactions.
  • Many buyers have date specific slots for aircraft repairs/modifications right after the deal closes. With the registry closed, buyers will likely decide to delay or postpone these upgrades all together.
  • If the buyer is planning to obtain financing, the finance company only guarantees interest rates/terms for a certain period, with the Registry closed these financing agreements will expire.

Aircraft Operations Impacts

  • Airplanes that had modification work done which included a new tail numbers/registration are now grounded at maintenance facilities because FAA cannot process the registration.
  • According to FAA data, 10,000 aircraft registrations expire each month, meaning that thousands of aircraft could be grounded should the shutdown continue.
  • Aircraft that are operating with a “pink slip” or fly wire will be grounded once those items expire.
  • Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs) are effectively closed to operators – commercial and non-commercial alike – who require FAA authorizations to conduct specific operations.

Treaty, Security and Other Implications

  • The U.S. needs to be responsive to registry inquires from other countries due to treaty obligations, with the registry closed we cannot meet these obligations.
  • The FAA Registry needs to have current and accurate information on all aircraft for safety, security and law enforcement reasons. With the registry closed these requirements are not being met.
  • The FAA Registry has already seen its staffing levels decreased, the backlog created by this shutdown will take a significant amount of time to process.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

CBP is affected only with overtime arrivals. Operators should communicate directly with their port of entry to clarify any local port impacts on proposed arrival times, especially if the operation proposes to arrive after normal business hours.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

TSA screeners are working normal business hours. TSA waivers for approved DCA Access Standard Security Program (DASSP) operators will be processed normally, however, new and pending applications for DASSP will not be reviewed until the shutdown is over. Additionally, the coordination needed with FAA for DCA slots remain operational.

Department of Transportation (DOT)

The DOT office that manages the following functions is closed due to the government shutdown:

  • Notice of Consistency
  • US Air Carrier Frequency Allocations
  • US Air Carrier Charter Allocations
  • US Carrier International Route Authority
  • DOT 375 Exemptions
  • DOT 49 USC 41301 Exemption

Reporting Additional Concerns About the Shutdown

NBAA is collecting real-world reports about the impact of the government shutdown on business aviation. This information will be used to tell elected officials about the damage the government shutdown is doing to companies of all sizes, all across the U.S., that are included in an essential American industry. Report a shutdown issue now.