Home » Potential Government Shutdown Could Hit Heart of Hawaii’s Economy
Government Hawaii News United States

Potential Government Shutdown Could Hit Heart of Hawaii’s Economy

HONOLULU (Island News) — As Congress gets closer to their Friday deadline to pass a budget, a potential government shutdown threatens Hawaii’s tourism industry.

The state’s top industry could be greatly impacted with the staffing of air traffic controllers. As employees of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a government shutdown looms large on tower staffs across the country already spread dangerously thin.

The FAA reported 23 close calls of aircraft collisions at commercial airports in the last year alone.

“It only takes one missed warning to become a tragedy,” said Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, before a Senate panel hearing. “One incorrect response to destroy public confidence in a system that has been built over decades.”

Homendy’s assessment reflects the dangerous conditions already present due to an undermanned workforce spread thin.

“Last year, controllers at 40% of our facilities worked 6-day work weeks at least once a month,” said Rich Santa, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. “Several of our facilities now require 6-day work weeks and 10-hour days every single week.”

The air traffic control workforce only grew by six new hires in the last year. A government shutdown could mean furloughing over 1,000 controllers while also pausing training for pending new hires – all before the beginning of the Thanksgiving travel period. 

Source : KITV