As a result of Congress’ failure to pass an authorization extension, the FAA has been forced to issue stop work orders on contracts reportedly worth more than $7 billion, noted Marion Blakey, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the former FAA administrator.
Reports from AIA member companies reflect contract employee layoffs as well as disruptions to second- and third-tier suppliers, often small businesses, she noted. “It’s also unclear whether the FAA will be able to make significant payments to contractors in the next couple of weeks,” she said. “Most small businesses lack the flexibility to absorb delayed payments — lack of cash flow could force these contractors to furlough or lay off additional employees.”
“In addition, while there is no immediate impact to air traffic control operations, many of the FAA furloughs have occurred in Next Generation Air Transportation System and air traffic control program upgrades,” she continued. “Significant delays in these programs would undermine the economic and environmental benefits they are expected to provide.”
“It is long past time for Congress to pass a full FAA Reauthorization bill,” she noted. “We strongly urge Congress to pass an immediate extension of authorities while working to resolve their differences over a full authorization. Allowing the authorization to lapse has resulted in unconscionable and completely avoidable negative impacts to aviation and our economy. The longer Congress waits, the worse those impacts will be.”