Wednesday, October 2, 2013

FAA flight inspectors furloughed, Chicago/Rockford International Airport (KRFD) weighs in on impact – Rockford’s News Leader  

Business as usual. Despite the federal government shut down affecting agencies like the FAA, Rockford's airport is running normally, but, there are workers who won't show up there for the time being.

FAA flight inspectors across the country aren't going to work. Their jobs are to make sure safety regulations are being followed. So, with them being gone, what does that mean for Rockford's airport industry? It depends who you ask.

"How it affects RFD, how it affects the airport authority day-to-day, for right now we're unaffected." -says RFD Operations Manager Zack Oakley.

Oakley says the airport has about six FAA flight inspectors, but they don't deal with airport administrators. These inspectors only work with airlines that touch down at RFD, like Allegiant. Oakley says airline mechanics can handle safety concerns.

"Just because inspectors aren't there doesn't mean people aren't going to do their jobs. The majority of times there's not an inspector there looking at someone while they're doing the work. These people are trained, they're certified by the FAA, they do their jobs how they're supposed to do it."

The Professional Aviation Safety Specialists federal union represents around 80 Illinois FAA flight inspectors. Illinois Chapter President Pete Rosa says there's a need for these employees.

"These are the guys who are going to airports, to air carriers, to maintenance facilities and they're spot checking regulations. They're making sure people are doing the safe thing and the right thing at the right time." -Rosa explains.

Allegiant Air spokesperson Jessica Wheeler says from a passenger perspective, the airline is operating as normal. The company will monitor any possible affects in the coming days and weeks, but for right now the furloughs aren't hindering their operations. FAA flight inspectors do oversee long-term projects at Allegiant, namely their maintenance program.

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