Failed funding red-flags FAA

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has gone into ‘partial shutdown’, after the US Congress adjourned on 22 July without extending the FAA’s funding.

The move has a direct impact on FAA personnel, five US airports, Boeing and 747-8F customers Atlas Air and Cargolux.

The FAA laid off 4,000 workers a day after Congress failed to extend the agency’s funding, but the FAA asserts this will not affect air traffic controllers or force any flight cancellations. The redundancies will, however, prevent the FAA from collecting the ticket tax revenue that pays for other agency employees.

The House of Representatives has approved a four-year USD$60 billion budget for the FAA, while the Senate has passed a two-year, $34.5 billion budget for the agency. But efforts to bring the two together have been shot down because Republicans have inserted a number of controversial provisions into the proposed compromise, including a measure that would make it harder for airline and rail employees to unionise.

The FAA’s suspension of activities means Boeing’s 747-8 freighter will not be approved to land at five US airports. Boeing says however says it will not delay the new freighters entry into service but it may impact first customers Atlas Air and Cargolux.

The FAA has to individually certify all the airports where the aircraft operates –
Chicago, Houston, Huntsville, Newark and San Francisco – to ensure that it can safely use runways, taxiways, ramps, and gates without hitting objects on the ground or interfering with other traffic.

Boeing has already certified 170 airports worldwide to land the aeroplane, with 100 more certified as alternate airports in case of an emergency.

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