US government shutdown delays more aircraft deliveries

Washington DC
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US Airways is the latest US carrier to face aircraft delivery delays due to the partial shutdown of the US federal government.

The Tempe, Arizona-based carrier tells Flightglobal it is unable to receive a new Airbus A330 from Airbus on 5 October as scheduled.

“We are unable to ferry our new Airbus A330 from Toulouse to Charlotte as planned this Saturday as the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] office responsible for issuing the required authorization is closed due to the government shutdown,” the airline says.

“We eagerly await their reopening in order to process our paperwork so we can bring this aircraft home,” US Airways adds.

Earlier this week JetBlue faced the same problem when it was unable to take delivery of its first A321 from Airbus.

Roughly 30 JetBlue employees travelled to Germany to receive the aircraft, but returned to the US empty handed and unsure when they would return.

JetBlue says the delay will push back other work on aircraft, such as installation of LiveTV components and the process of receiving FAA certification for Ka-band wi-fi.

But because JetBlue does not expect to place A321s in service until 19 December, the delay is “not too concerning.”

“But nonetheless, its a bummer,” JetBlue says.

The US federal government partially shut down at 00:01 on 1 October after the US Congress failed to agree on a federal budget.

Though some government functions deemed “essential” are still operating, the shutdown led the FAA to furlough employees at its Airmen and Aircraft Registry in Oklahoma City, which “resulted in a hold on all US aircraft registrations,” the FAA tells Flightglobal.

“The FAA has explained to aircraft manufacturers inside and outside of the US that aircraft registrations will resume when the government shutdown ends,” the FAA says.

Though the FAA’s statement implies Boeing aircraft deliveries will also be impacted, Delta Air Lines tells Flightglobal it received its second Boeing 737-900 without delay on 3 October.

“There has been no impact,” Delta says.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Brazilian manufacturer Embraer says it does not "anticipate any delays in deliveries."

American Airlines says it has had no delays because the airline did not have any deliveries scheduled for this week.

United Airlines and Southwest Airlines say they also have not been affected. Spirit Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment.