7 Apr 2011

Safety of Western Pacific airports assured if US government shuts down

1:23 pm on 7 April 2011

The administrator for the US Federal Aviation Adminstration's Western Pacific region says a government shutdown will not affect airport safety.

William Withycombe is in Saipan for the final day of a three-day Pacific Aviation Directors Workshop involving more than a hundred representatives from the Northern Marianas, Guam, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and American Samoa.

He says discussion has focused on safety, which isn't something that'll be compromised if the US budget stalemate results in a shutdown of government services.

"Our required participation out here will continue and you know there are essential personnel that will be still on duty and working to provide support for the air traffic system and other vital functions that affect safety."

William Withycombe says a proposed cut to the FAA's budget of up to four billion US dollars will have an impact on non-essential airport projects in the Western Pacific but not on safety.