Government Shutdown Impacting Wichita Aviation

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Friday October 4, 2013

The Wichita aviation industry is having trouble completing sales of aircraft because of the closure of Federal Aviation Administration offices.

When the government furloughed hundreds of thousands of workers, it included many with the FAA.

Usually the parking lot of the FAA offices next to Mid-Continent Airport are full during business hours. Instead, they're empty.

The FAA's Aircraft Registry Office in Oklahoma City is also closed. If you can't register the aircraft, you can't complete the sale and the customer delivery.

Jeffrey Peier is a Wichita attorney who specializes in the financing of aircraft representing buyers, sellers and lenders all over the world.

Peier says, "We have about 30 transactions which have come to a grinding halt because we can't register those aircraft."

Pete Bunce is President and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association which represents plane makers in Washington, D.C.

Bunce says, "Everything we do has to go through the FAA."

Bunce says if the government shutdown goes on for two more weeks it will delay deliveries of 135 aircraft worth $1.38 billion.

Bunce and Peier say if the shutdown doesn't end soon the trickle down could cause local plane makers to adjust production rates down and force the furloughing of aviation workers.

Bunce says, "This is a real hurt, not only to government workers who's salaries are affected. But this is a real hurt to men and women in the United States."

Attorney Peier says, "I think plane makers will absolutely have to adjust their production rates because if people can't buy and register those aircraft, finance those aircraft, they're not going to buy aircraft. And we're seeing that already with just a few days of the shutdown."

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