The still ongoing government shutdown is claiming yet another victim: airlines. Many of the major operating airlines have seen stock market hits since the shutdown began, with many unable to move forward on certain new routes or put new aircraft into service thanks to furloughed workers and inspectors.
As the government shutdown enters its second month, a new victim of furloughed agencies and employees is coming to the forefront: major U.S. airlines. The big players are taking hits in the stock market, which fell 300 points this week. According to Forbes, “United dropped 2.63 percent, while Southwest fell 2 percent. Delta fell 2.1 percent to 47.10, near its year low of 45.08. And American fell 3.62 percent to 32.74, near a 52-week low of 28.81.”
The airlines are facing other issues as well. It’s been widely reported that the Transportation Security Administration is not functioning properly during the shutdown thanks to employees working without pay or just calling in sick because they can’t afford to get to work. But flight routes and new aircraft are suffering, too.
Southwest expected to be running new flights from several California locations into Hawaii early this year—but it’s not going to happen yet because the aviation inspectors needed to certify the aircraft are furloughed. And Delta is anxious to start flying its new Airbus A220s, but it’s the same issue. The Federal Aviation Administration inspectors needed to green light the planes aren’t currently working. Plus, any planes that are out for repairs can’t return to their fleets because no one is there to sign off on the safety reports.