January 21, 2018: to The Honorable Elaine L. Chao Secretary, Department of Transportation
Re: Request to Reopen United States Aircraft Registry
Dear Secretary Chao: We are writing to urge the Department to restore the full functioning of the FAA’s Aircraft Registration Branch (“U.S. Registry”) during the current government shutdown. The U.S. Registry in Oklahoma City performs a critical role in the safe operation of aircraft and fulfills international obligations of the United States. As a result, we respectfully request that you and the Acting Administrator declare the registry as performing essential functions, and recall an adequate number of employees to reopen the registry.
We respectfully submit that DOT has authority under the Anti-deficiency Act,1 to staff the U.S. Registry as it is vital to protection of human life and property, and necessary for the U.S. to fulfill its ongoing international legal obligations under the Chicago Convention and the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment (“Cape Town Convention”) relating to the registration of aircraft.
The FAA has long recognized the importance of accurate U.S. Registry information in carrying out its responsibilities in overseeing the safety and operation of aircraft on the U.S. Registry and in fulfilling its obligations under international treaties governing aviation.
For example, the FAA has made clear that accurate and up to date U.S. Registry information is essential to allow the FAA to carry out its safety and oversight duties – ones that are critical to the protection of human life and property. We have compiled and attached some examples of the FAA’s public statements on the public safety, security, and international obligations associated with the U.S. Registry for your reference.
Additionally, the current closure of the U.S. Registry precludes the delivery of aircraft. This encompasses any aircraft that is sold domestically, exported, or imported as these transactions require FAA approval and must receive a certificate of aircraft registration to process financing.
The U.S. Registry’s closure had a profound impact on our manufacturers and workforce during the 2013 government shutdown as it disrupted hundreds of aircraft transactions valued at over $1.9 billion.
As you are well aware, certain activities, including emergency circumstances relating to health and safety and functions necessary to discharge the President’s constitutional duties and powers, are exempted from the restrictions of the Anti-deficiency Act.3 Again, we commend you for taking actions to bring off furlough other safety-sensitive FAA personnel, but urge you in the strongest possible terms, in the interests of safety, security, and our international obligations, as well as the enormous economic consequences of its closure, to immediately reopen the aircraft registry.
Thank you for your consideration.
Mark Baker President and CEO, AOPA
Jack Pelton, CEO and Chairman of the Board, EAA
Peter J. Bunce, President and CEO,
Matthew S. Zuccaro, President, HAI
Martin H. Hiller, President, NATA
Ed Bolen President and CEO, NBAA [ home ]