U.S. plane sales still stymied as FAA recalls staff
(Reuters) - The U.S. government shutdown is blocking Boeing Co and Airbus from delivering aircraft to U.S. airlines, even though hundreds of furloughed workers are being recalled this week.
While recalls by the Federal Aviation Administration will allow aircraft made by Boeing to be certified, they will not allow plane makers to perform a final step, registration.
The FAA registry in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, remains closed, the FAA said on Tuesday. The office issues registration numbers for planes and pilots, much like registration for automobiles and drivers, the agency said.
The office registers about 10,000 aircraft a month, according to the National Business Aviation Association, a trade group that said the closure also was affecting the sales of private aircraft.
Airbus said on Tuesday that the office closure prevented it from delivering jets to JetBlue Airways Corp and US Airways Group Inc.
"The airlines have been unable to get U.S. registrations for those aircraft, so unfortunately, the aircraft they need for operations remain outside of the U.S.," an Airbus spokeswoman said.
Boeing and U.S. airlines were expected to benefit from the recall of up to 800 safety personnel from furlough. Those furloughs had threatened to halt certification of 787 Dreamliners made at the company's South Carolina factory.
The FAA said it is bringing bring back this week 200 "engineers, inspectors and safety staff" involved in certifying planes and parts as airworthy.
The FAA said it is also recalling another 600 safety staff and inspectors who oversee airline operations and 25 doctors who oversee drug and alcohol testing.
The workers are among some 15,500 FAA employees furloughed in the government shutdown on October 1, about one-third of the FAA's total staff of 46,000.
The FAA said it had no information about when the registry might reopen.
(Reporting by Alwyn Scott.; Editing by Andrew Hay and Andre Grenon)