Reckless Shutdown Threatens General Aviation
Government holding economy hostage; aviation suffering.
By Robert Goyer / Published: Oct 08, 2013
As the government shutdown continues into its second week, aviation is suffering the effects of the piecemeal closing of federal offices. In our case, the most harmful so far is the shuttering of the FAA office in Oklahoma City that handles aircraft registration. During the shutdowns of the mid-1990s, registration remained open. The effect on aviation business even a few days into this protest action is dire. Businesses that depend on the FAA for conducting many of the facets of aircraft sales have for all intents and purposes been forced to close for lack of FAA support in the registration process. It's also affecting hundreds (so far) of owners of light airplanes who need to renew the registration or private owners looking to buy or sell an airplane. Tough luck, the federal government is saying: we're closed for business.
The National Business Aviation Association has been front and center in keeping its members apprised of the effects of the shutdown on their operations, and NBAA president Ed Bolen was mincing no words in his assessment of the situation: "This affects all kinds of businesses," Bolen said in a news release. "We're talking about financing jobs, training jobs as well as broker-dealer jobs. It's critical to our manufacturing base, our exports and thousands of small businesses."
In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Bolen laid out the details of the damage done to bizav, and it's not a pretty picture. In the letter, Bolen wrote that "the shutdown of this Registry is already having a severely detrimental effect on people and businesses of all sizes, throughout our country. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) estimates the value of the near-term deliveries, which are halted, to be $1.38 billion. Additionally, the fourth quarter is the peak time for aircraft deliveries and typically accounts for 35 percent of annual aircraft deliveries for the general aviation manufacturing industry. If this backlog lasts more than a few days, it could potentially devastate the industry's fourth-quarter deliveries."
It has been common practice in the media to call for compromise and communication in this situation, which writers often refer to as a "standoff." But this is intentionally misstating the nature of this unprecedented legislative event.
In this desperate gambit, just as in a hostage standoff, it's the innocents that are in harm's way. Among them, in our important corner of the economy, are thousands of businesses large and small that depend on the American government to do its job reliably in support of the work they do in selling airplanes providing training in them, maintaining them, financing them and otherwise supporting them.
The shutdown is a sham. It's time for America and American aviation to get back to business now.
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