Pilots association urges Trump to end government shutdown, citing safety and security concerns

An international pilots association is urging President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE to end the partial government shutdown, saying that it has adversely affected the "safety, security and efficiency of our national airspace system."

"The nation’s airspace system is a complex transportation network that involves government and industry partnerships to function properly, and the disruptions being caused by the shutdown are threatening the safe operations of this network," Joe DePete, the president of Air Line Pilots Association, International, wrote in the Jan. 2 letter to Trump.

The partial government shutdown, currently in its third week, was sparked by Trump's insistence on funding for a long-promised all along the border with Mexico.


DePete wrote that safety and security problems "immediately emerge" when any of the responsibilities of the Department of Transportation or the Department of Homeland Security are "placed on pause due to a shutdown."

He added that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is suffering because fewer safety inspectors are available than are needed to "ensure the air traffic control infrastructure is performing at its peak levels of performance."

Additionally, airline and aircraft oversight responsibilities "either stop or are significantly reduced," he wrote.

DePete focused on a new communications tool the FAA is in the midst of implementing, writing that there will be "significant delays to the program" because of the shutdown.

"If the shutdown continues, air traffic controllers and pilots previously trained on the system will lose their proficiency due to a lack of use, and re-training will likely be required. The need to re-train will add costs and will no doubt delay the progress of this important airspace system upgrade," DePete added.

DePete also noted that employees for the FAA and the Transportation Security Administration are working unpaid during the shutdown.

"Based on the impacts to the aviation industry including the ALPA membership, we urge you to take the necessary steps to immediately end the shutdown of government agencies that is affecting the safety, security and efficiency of our national airspace system," DePete added.