The Government Shutdown and Business Aviation

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NBAA Member Discusses Government Shutdown’s Effect on Aircraft Sales

October 6, 2013

With at least 10 percent of her company’s annual revenue already in jeopardy because of the ripple-down effects of the federal government shutdown, aircraft broker and NBAA Member Robin Eissler, of Jet Quest Inc. in Georgetown, TX, contacted a local television station to alert the news outlet to the plight of her business, and that of the more-than-a-dozen other aircraft sales companies located in the same town.

The result? A segment titled “Government Shutdown Paralyzes Aircraft Sales,” which ran on Austin’s KXAN-TV evening news the next day. View the KXAN-TV story.

“I saw on Facebook that the television station was looking for small, non-government businesses that were being affected by the shutdown, and I just responded to it,” said Eissler, who is vice president of the three-employee aircraft sales company.“They contacted me the next morning… the link to the story has already had more than 6,000 views on Facebook.”

Because of the shuttering of the FAA’s Aircraft Registry office in Oklahoma City, OK, Eissler’s company is unable to complete any U.S. aircraft sales.

“That is where all liens are filed, all applications are submitted for registration, all titles are cleared – everything passes through the registry,” said Eissler, whose company has three aircraft sales waiting to close. “Our revenues are at zero, and we will really be hurting if this lasts much longer.”

Eissler noted that the third and fourth quarter are usually the busiest times for aircraft sales, which makes the aircraft registry office closure that much more painful.

Eissler’s concerns were echoed by Joan Roberts, vice president of Insured Aircraft Title Service (IATS), whose company normally has three full-time employees located in the public documents room at the registry in Oklahoma City. In addition to the registry’s closure at the busiest time of year for aircraft sales, Roberts noted that her company is concerned about the shutdown creating a large backlog of requests for registrations, title searches and other essential services that the registry provides.

“We average 10 to 15 aircraft closings a day worth many millions of dollars,” said Roberts. “Now, we can’t even order a title search.”

Both Eissler and Roberts noted that the registry had remained open as an essential service during previous federal government shutdowns.

“We don’t know why that has changed,” said Roberts. Although IATS has not yet had to furlough or lay off any of their own employees, Roberts knows of other aviation escrow and title companies whose employees have been affected by the government shutdown.

“The surprise closing of the FAA’s Aircraft Registry has ground to a halt any aircraft sales and purchases in the U.S.,” said Ed Bolen, NBAA president and CEO.“This is yet one more way that the government shutdown is impacting the kinds of small businesses most people wouldn’t think of – small, often family-owned businesses that are part an essential American industry – business aviation – that generates $150 billion in economic activity each year, employs more than one million people, and helps citizens, companies and communities all across the U.S.”

Bolen told elected officials at an Oct. 3 Small Business Roundtable on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, “Business aviation can’t produce, buy, sell, finance, register and in some cases even move an airplane without government involvement. With the registry in Oklahoma City closed, and the FAA only doing life and safety work, companies are really struggling.”

For more information, or to report the impact of the government shutdown on your company, contact NBAA's Operation Services Group at ops@nbaa.org.