This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s been 23 days since the United States federal government entered a partial shut down, now the longest in the nation’s history. As a result, thousands of government employees have either been working without pay or have been furloughed. Among them: most of the Federal Aviation Administration’s 3,000 safety inspectors.

But according to the Associated Press, the FAA has announced that it has brought back approximately 500 furloughed inspectors, with more expected to return to work soon. Agency spokesperson Gregory Martin did not provide specifics.

Though aviation safety inspectors do crucial work, they are not actually considered essential. As a result, thousands of FAA safety inspectors deemed “nonessential” were furloughed following the shutdown. At a recent protest in Miami, furloughed inspectors held signs with phrases like, “Was your airplane properly repaired and inspected today? The FAA does not know!” In Newark, signs warned travelers that there was “no safety oversight of [their] flight.”

According to the FAA, aviation safety inspectors “administer, investigate and enforce safety regulations and standards for the production, operation, maintenance and modification of all aircraft flying today.” They are something like the last line of defense against mistakes, and specialize in four critical fields including maintenance and operations. The union that represents these safety inspectors said that the duties of aviation safety inspectors include “performing oversight of commercial aircraft, pilots and maintenance facilities, as well as conducting in-flight and ramp inspections.”

Basically, they oversee and sign-off on work, such as repairs performed by FAA maintenance workers. They ensure that the aircraft operated by the airlines you fly are safe and that those airlines follow necessary protocol. Yet the majority of these ASIs have been furloughed since the partial shutdown began on Dec. 22.

An FAA employee sits at his desk overseeing flights (Photo by Pete Marovich For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
An FAA employee sits at his desk overseeing flights (Photo by Pete Marovich For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Now, the FAA has decided to bring hundreds of safety inspectors and technical staff back to work in an effort to “[ease] strains on the aviation system,” the AP reported. Meanwhile, FAA employees considered essential, including air traffic controllers, will continue to be required to work without pay until the government shutdown ends.

Featured image by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 points! With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 60,000 point sign up bonus worth up to $1,200 in value, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.