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Aviation Workers Worry About Lasting Impact Of Government Shutdown

Published
The partial federal government shutdown is over -- at least for the next three weeks -- after federal lawmakers reached a temporary deal Friday to end it. However, there could be a long-term impact on the aviation field.

The Federal Aviation Administration Academy teaches people how to maintain the systems needed for getting planes safely to their destinations. 

Kenneth Barrett, telecommunications specialist for the FAA, said during the shutdown, the academy was closed, and he's worried about the classes that have been postponed.

"It has a ripple effect," Barrett said. "It takes years for people to get the academy back and running and get the training done." 

Barrett said the academy is still recovering from the 2013 government shutdown that lasted 16 days but caused serious disruptions in the training schedule. 

Barrett added fewer people getting certified means fewer trained workers available to fix problems that could happen at airports.

The most recent shutdown could also impact pay raises for technicians still in training, according to Barrett. 

"Their pay increases as they get certified on the number of systems, so these people that are starting out, that’s going to affect them throughout their whole career," Barrett said.

In addition to worries about training delays, some federal employees at T. F. Green Airport said they’re not optimistic about what could happen next.

Mike Hall, environmental technician, worked at the airport without getting paid for the past five weeks. 

Hall said even though the government is re-opened, he believes the political problems that caused the shutdown are far from being resolved.

"We’re probably going to end up back at square one again," Hall said. "It’s probably going to be a little bit of reprieve, but then (the politicians are) probably going to be little children bickering back and forth again and not taking care of the people that they’re elected to take care of."

John Burke, air traffic systems specialist at T.F. Green, said some of his co-workers are hopeful that the government won’t shut down again. 

However, Burke doesn’t think there are any guarantees.

"Personally I don’t know if anything is going to change. It doesn’t sound like that there was any momentum either way anyway," Burke said. 

Burke along with about eight of his colleagues a part of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists union protested outside of T.F. Green Friday to raise awareness about how a continued government shutdown could affect aviation safety.

Aviation Workers Worry About Lasting Impact Of Government Shutdown
Aviation Workers Worry About Lasting Impact Of Government Shutdown
Aviation Workers Worry About Lasting Impact Of Government Shutdown
Aviation Workers Worry About Lasting Impact Of Government Shutdown
Mike Hall
Mike Hall
Federal workers, both furloughed and working without pay, picketed outside of T.F. Green Airport Friday to raise awareness about the effects of the government shutdown on aviation safety.
Federal workers, both furloughed and working without pay, picketed outside of T.F. Green Airport Friday to raise awareness about the effects of the government shutdown on aviation safety.
Aviation Workers Worry About Lasting Impact Of Government Shutdown
Aviation Workers Worry About Lasting Impact Of Government Shutdown
Aviation Workers Worry About Lasting Impact Of Government Shutdown
Aviation Workers Worry About Lasting Impact Of Government Shutdown
John Burke
John Burke