With no end in sight to the government shutdown, Captain Joe DePete, ALPA president, drafted a letter to Donald Trump to outline the consequences that a continued deadlock would have on the country’s airspace and aviation system. He also urged the president to halt the deadlock as soon as possible.
With no end in sight to America’s government shutdown, a labor group representing pilots has called upon President Trump to lift the deadlock.
Last week, Captain Joe DePete, President of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) – a body which represents 61,000 pilots working across 34 separate carriers – drafted a letter to the president, outlining the consequences that a continued deadlock would have on the nation’s airspace and aviation system.
“The nation’s airspace system is a complex transportation network that involves government and industry partnerships to function properly, and the disruptions being caused by the shutdown are threatening the safe operations of this network. The government agency partners in the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have dual roles. They are both regulators and service providers,” he wrote.
DePete added, “When any of their responsibilities are placed on pause due to a shutdown there are safety, security and efficiency gaps that immediately emerge.”
Further explaining the situation, DePete stated that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently experiencing a shortage of inspectors, something which compromises the infrastructure of the nation’s air traffic control system. Because of the shutdown, he added that aircraft safety and oversight inspections had also come to a halt and that, if left unchecked by government authorities, recreational drone usage could now pose a threat to commercial airspace.
DePete also reminded the president that, “…air traffic controllers, airspace system maintenance personnel, and the airline passenger security workforce are being asked to work unpaid. They are dutifully providing safety of life services while facing increasingly difficult financial pressures to provide for those dependent on their paycheck.”
He finished his letter by asking the president, “…to take the necessary steps to immediately end the shutdown of government agencies that is affecting the safety, security and efficiency of our national airspace system.”