Will Rogers Airport, Tinker Air Force Base Prepare For Potential Government Shutdown

Will Rogers Airport and Tinker Air Force say government shutdown will have minimal impact for travelers.

Wednesday, September 27th 2023, 10:24 pm

By: News 9

A government shutdown could impact air traffic controllers' training. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said a shutdown means all training would stop immediately.   

People who are flying out of Will Rogers Airport won’t notice much of a change. Flights will still happen. However, the logistics behind the scenes could affect the aviation industry long-term.  

“It would mean we would immediately have to stop training new air traffic controllers and furlough the other 1000 controllers who are already in the training pipeline,” said Buttigieg, in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.  

A government audit in June, found 77 percent of air traffic control facilities are understaffed below the Agency’s 85-percent threshold.   

“Even a shutdown lasting a few days could mean we will not hit our staffing and hiring targets next year,” Buttigieg said. 

An FAA spokesperson at Will Rogers Airport said current air traffic controllers are essential staff and won’t be affected. The Senate is working on its own continuing resolution. House Republican holdouts, including Rep. Tom Cole, (R) Oklahoma's 4th congressional district, said that won't work. 

"We've got members who say I'm not voting for a c-r under any circumstance, even if I agree with everything in it,” Cole said. 

Officials at Tinker Air Force Base said, 

“We need Congress to pass timely appropriations to adequately equip our Airmen and Guardians, ensure military readiness, launch new investment programs, and reduce uncertainty with our industry and international partners. In particular, the proposed FY24 budget advances investments in Air Force and Space Force capabilities that directly support the National Defense Strategy and cannot be delayed if we intend to maintain our strategic advantage.” 

Buttigieg said a shutdown could ground all the efforts made to fix disruptions to air travel, “A shutdown would stop all of that progress,” Buttigieg said.  

News 9 asked FAA officials what the impact could be at the Oklahoma City Air Traffic Control Academy. They said they don’t know the answer right now.   


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