By Philip Butterworth-Hayes
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is facing imminent shut-down unless the US Senate can agree the FAA Reauthorization package.
According to political analysis website Politico:
“It’s a crucial moment for the Federal Aviation Administration, which is faced with a possible lapse in its statutory authorization for the first time since 2011, as well as a possible gap in funding if the entire federal government shuts down this weekend. The funding cliff comes as the powerful agency has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since April 2022, at a time when near-misses have spiked and air travel has surged.”
One way of breaking the impasse is for the Senate to agree a temporary funding mechanism.
A post from Rich Santa, President of the National Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA), writing on September 26 explains what this might mean:
“As of today, the U.S. Senate is preparing to move a Continuing Resolution (CR) to temporarily fund the government, which would include a short-term extension of FAA’s authorization. A significant number of Senators are working in a bipartisan manner to move this stopgap legislation to the floor, with the hope that they can eventually pass the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill, which passed out of committee unanimously, earlier this year. We have expressed our strong support for a stopgap measure to keep the government open and keep FAA programs running.”
According to Miriam McNabb, writing in DroneLife:
“If the FAA authorization runs out coincidentally with a government shutdown, more than 17,000 workers would be furloughed, the Washington Post reports. For the drone industry, that could mean that the already stretched team that works with the industry to grant waivers, authorizations, and move complex operations forward will not be available. Will advanced aviation be considered essential when the shutdown comes?”
More information will follow.