New information on shutdown’s impact on aviation, furloughed workers

Posted at 2:58 PM, Feb 13, 2019

A congressional hearing took place Wednesday about the effects the recent government shutdown had on the aviation industry.

The head of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Paul Rinaldi, spoke about distraction dangers.

“We were getting text messages from controllers with 17 years worth of experience making mistakes on routine clearances, climbing airplanes into paths of other airplanes at the same altitude, because they were distracted because they were thinking about their mortgage. They were thinking about school payments, car payments, food,” Rinaldi says.

It impacted flights too, causing delays and changes in safety procedures.

Normally, no communication is allowed between the cabin and flight deck during take-offs and landings in order to allow pilots to focus. But the head of the Association of Flight Attendants, Sara Nelson, revealed some pilots made changes to those rules.

“They were so concerned that the shutdown had compromised security screening they felt they ended to alter safety procedures so they could be notified immediately if there was a security issue in the cabin,” Nelson explains.

We’re now learning more about how the shutdown personally impacted some of the 800,000 workers who did not get a paycheck.

A new survey found more than 8 in 10 furloughed workers say their stress levels spiked during the shutdown. Almost half of the furloughed workers fell behind on their bills during the shutdown. Additionally, nearly 1 in 4 cut back or stopped spending on health and medical expenses.