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FAA reportedly bringing airline inspectors back to work during shutdown



The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may be about to bring many of its inspectors and technical staff back to work.

According to the Wall Street Journal, sources within the FAA and the union that represents its employees say the agency is gearing up to bring airline inspectors and technical staff back to work.

It’s unclear how many staff will be recalled and when they will return to work.

Neither the agency nor the union was immediately available for comment.

However, the FAA did issue a statement on Thursday indicating that it does recall staff to address safety issues.

“Safety is the top priority for the FAA,” the agency said. “We are allocating resources based on risk assessment to meet all safety-critical functions.”

“If we identify an issue, we recall inspectors and engineers to address it,” the FAA went on to say.

Essential staff such as air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint screeners have been working unpaid since the government shutdown on December 22.

Read more: Miami’s airport is shutting down one of its terminals this weekend over a shortage of TSA screeners amid the government shutdown.

Unions, aviation trade groups, and politicians from both sides of the aisle held a rally in Washington, DC, on Thursday, urging political leaders to bring the shutdown to an end.

The union representing air traffic controllers filed a federal lawsuit on Friday, alleging the government unlawfully deprived its members of their earned wages without due process.

At the same time, TSA has experienced a 55% increase in the number of employees who call out of work. Even though the call outs represent only 5.1% of total staff, it has created enough of a shortage that Miami International Airport is shutting down one of its terminals for parts of this weekend.

The TSA workers’ union president, Hydrick Thomas, has said workers are calling out at higher rates because of financial hardship.

“TSA employees aren’t calling out intentionally,” Thomas told Business Insider last week. “They are calling out because they don’t have the funds to make it work.”

Even though the workers are eligible to receive back pay once the shutdown is over, many live paycheck to paycheck and are suffering financially.

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