Shutdown raises risk of plane crashes

“Over time the safety system is deteriorating”



Some experts are warning that the US government shutdown means a growing risk of a plane crash. The crisis is stopping Boeing and Airbus from delivering aircraft to US airlines, raising safety concerns.

Almost a third of the US Federal Aviation Administration’s 46,000 employees are not at work due to the shutdown. Airlines, aircraft manufacturers and suppliers are therefore unable to get plane parts and systems certified for use. Drug and alcohol tests and safety inspections also cannot be performed.

“Over time the safety system is deteriorating,” says John Goglia, a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates air accidents.

“If this backlog lasts more than a few days, it could potentially devastate the [airline] industry’s fourth-quarter deliveries,” National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen wrote in an open letter to President Barack Obama.


[photo courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]