Editor’s comment: The final shutdown

Regional Gateway editor Chloë Greenbank summarises the latest happenings across airports serving business, regional and low-fare routes.

After 35 days, president Trump finally signed a bill to bring an end to the US government shutdown on Friday 25 January.

But although the longest government shutdown in US history was brought to a close, it’s unlikely to be the last we’ve heard of it as the agreement is only temporary. Trump warned if negotiations over the next three weeks don’t result in funding for his US-Mexico border wall, the government could shut down again.

Air traffic controllers and aviation safety professionals were among the 800,000 or so federal workers who were furloughed during the 35-day shutdown. Paul Rinaldi, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association’s (NACTA’s) president, expressed relief at the temporary end to the shutdown. However, he also warned of the need to “not lose focus on the short-term nature of this agreement, and the need to continue to make our voice heard to avoid another shutdown on 15 February.”

Adding that the National Airspace System (NAS) requires a stable, predictable funding stream in order to adequately support air traffic control services, he stated: “The constant funding crises that arise from stop-and-go funding continue to wreak havoc on our system and perpetuate the current staffing crisis, which has resulted in a 30-year low of certified professional controllers.”

Those federal workers who carried on working without knowing when their next paycheck was coming, now have a chance to recover their earnings. But, the fight is far from over with the final countdown of another potential shutdown looming.

The editor’s comment is published weekly as an accompaniment to the Regional Gateway e-newsletter. If you do not currently receive our email updates, you can subscribe here.

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