This Florida Airlines’ New Planes Are Grounded Due to Shutdown

Jan 11, 2019

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The government shutdown continues to affect American travelers, airports and workers in a multitude of ways. The Federal Aviation Administration has currently stopped its certification process for new aircraft, which is affecting one airline quite directly.

Silver Airways was on track to be the first US airline to fly the ATR 42-600, an aircraft manufactured in France, and it was scheduled to start operating the turboprop next month. The Florida-based carrier is a modest operation with a fleet of 21 Saab 340s, but has ordered 16 ATR 42-600s and four ATR 72-600s to replace its aging fleet of Saabs.

But with the government shutdown in full effect, parts of the FAA’s operation have been paused — FAA employees who certify an aircraft’s airworthiness have been furloughed until further notice. When a new aircraft begins flying in the US, the FAA puts it through a rigorous airworthiness certification process to make sure it’s safe to fly.

“Certification activities are currently halted,” an FAA spokesperson told TPG in a statement. “Employees who have a direct mission to ensure public safety, like air traffic controllers and the technicians who maintain the air traffic control system, remain on the job.”

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