Government shutdown means fewer plane inspectors

The government shutdown has added a new level of concern for airports as thousands of airplane inspectors aren't working right now.

Passengers are feeling a little uneasy knowing that there are fewer inspections of planes right now because of the partial shutdown, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)) says that's not compromising safety. 

“When you don't have those second checks on that stuff, it's a scary thing,” said passenger Sal Ciulla.

Your flight may not be as safe because planes aren't going through as many safety checks as normal, according to the Union which represents FAA Inspectors. 

“If something goes wrong, you're 30,000 feet up in the air, you're pretty much out of luck,” Ciulla said.

The FAA's Aviation Safety Inspectors, who inspect planes, and manufacturing inspectors, who check the plane parts, are on furlough as the shutdown continues. 

That means they're not working and they're not getting paid, according to the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), the union which represents the employees. Planes are still being inspected by airlines, they're just not getting that second check by the government. 

After calling the FAA and receiving a recorded voicemail saying no one is working “due to the government shutdown,” FOX 46 eventually reached a spokesperson who tells says the FAA continues to meet all "safety critical functions," and if there's an issue they can recall inspectors and engineers to address it.

“It's vitally important. if we're talking about whether or not a plane breaks down, you'd want to have the process of inspection. it's all part of quality control,” Peter Hasenhauer said.

The union representing the FAA workers says more than 3,000 workers nationwide are on furlough. 

“Safety's safety, you would want regardless. I would hope the airlines are doing thorough safety checks and not having to have a backup to check,” said passenger Pat Topolski.

FOX 46 is working to obtain specific numbers on how many are at Charlotte-Douglas, but they have not gotten back to us.