GA groups can claim a victory in the fine print of the latest government shutdown. The FAA has confirmed to AVweb that aircraft registry services will be maintained throughout the shutdown, which began at midnight Dec. 22 and is still the subject of political machinations in Washington. “Air traffic controllers, as well as those who maintain the aircraft registry, remain on the job,” a senior FAA spokesman told AVweb. In the past, only operations directly involved in air traffic control were maintained during a shutdown but, as we reported during last January’s shutdown, GA groups protested that registry services were also essential.
During that shutdown, six GA groups, led by NBAA, appealed to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to reopen the registry office in Oklahoma City, citing the Antideficiency Act, which obligates the government to maintain services “vital to the protection of human life and property.” The groups argued that allowing aircraft registrations to lapse would impair oversight of flight safety oversight and put the U.S. in violation of bilateral agreements with other countries. Closure of the Oklahoma City office also prevented manufacturers from registering and transferring newly built and sold aircraft and also held up the paperwork on used aircraft sales.