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Some Furloughed FAA Inspectors Will Return to Work

Though the change signals progress toward better air safety during the government shutdown, 2,200 FAA employees still remain furloughed.

When the government shutdown began, around 3,000 aviation safety inspectors employed by the FAA were furloughed. Now, 600 to 800 of them have been recalled and will return to work, according to Forbes. Many believe the inspectors were brought back due to questions and concerns regarding whether or not it is safe for the public to fly.

Despite the recall, concern from the public is still high because many believe aviation inspectors are considered "essential" workers. The government shutdown furloughed non-essential workers only, so why safety inspectors were included in that category is under question.

According to aviation safety consultant John Goglia, a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board, having 2,200 FAA employees still furloughed is of high concern.  Eliminating oversight from safety inspectors "creates a void in the safety system that cannot be replaced by any amount of internal auditing by the airlines or other aviation entities," he said, adding that eliminating government safety oversight in the aviation industry is "unprecedented."

Those who will return to work are aircraft, maintenance, and compliance inspectors. They inspect and monitor commercial planes, training, and pilot readiness. It should also be noted that, according to The Courant, each airlines has its own inspectors—the FAA just forms the core of inspectors and oversees the whole flying process.

Goglia warned that the general public should be very concerned about the furloughs and the state of flying because this is the first time in more than 40 years that the FAA has not been operating.

About the Author

Jamie Friedlander is an Associate Content Editor at Occupational Health & Safety Magazine.

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