- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Federal Aviation Administration has announced the furloughing of almost 3,000 air safety inspectors as part of the government shutdown.

The job of the inspectors is to ensure that airlines are keeping up with planes’ mechanical upgrades; to perform inspections on the planes and pilots; and to visit the sites that airlines use to repair aircraft, both domestically and overseas, said Kori Blalock Keller, a spokeswoman for the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists union, in the Daily Mail.

The cutbacks were so stringent — 3,000 workers sent on furlough — that union officials initially thought the FAA had made a mistake, Ms. Blalock Keller said. But FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta said it’s no error: The inspection force in fact had been targeted for the furloughs.

“[I am] outraged that the FAA would consider aviation safety inspectors as playing anything but a pivotal role in protecting the safety of the American public,” said Mike Perrone, the president of the PASS union, in the Daily Mail. “Furloughing this critical workforce is neither in the best interest of the economy nor the oversight of this country’s aviation system.”

Federal air traffic controllers will not be affected by the government shutdown, nor will airport security screeners, the newspaper reported.

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