Aircraft sales can’t be completed during the government’s partial shutdown because the FAA’s registry office is not considered an essential function and has been closed, the Wichita Eagle reported Friday. The Eagle says the General Aircraft Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has polled its members and deliveries of 12 new airplanes scheduled for the first two days of the shutdown have not occurred. GAMA also says ten times that number of aircraft are scheduled for delivery over the next few weeks. But new aircraft sales aren’t the only ones affected — used aircraft sales are affected, too. And there are several other side effects.
GAMA estimates the combined value of new aircraft scheduled to be delivered over the next couple of weeks at nearly $1.4 billion. With the registry office closed, aircraft registry records cannot be accessed, so no title searches can take place, which, among other things, means that lenders may balk at funding purchases. Also, federal regulations require that individuals notify the FAA, immediately, when aircraft ownership changes. And as long as the registry office remains closed, there is no one at the FAA to process the information, so regardless of other considerations aircraft cannot legally change hands. The result isn’t just a building backlog of paperwork but a halt to financial exchanges. GAMA is working with the FAA to try to find solutions but, as of Friday, none were available.