January 25 - Open Letter to Trump, Pelosi and McConnell Re Shutdown

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi


U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Mitch McConnell 

Majority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510


Dear National Leaders,

In a January 10, 2019 letter to each of you more than 30 travel and aviation industry organizations documented the adverse impacts that the government shutdown is having on workers, aviation industry oversight and airline operations. (See industry letter at https://btcnews.co/2HsbSd4.)

Since that letter was transmitted to each of you the negative impacts of the shutdown on the aviation industry have only worsened with flights being delayed at major airports across the nation due to Federal Aviation Administration staffing shortages.

However, the most pernicious effect is the shameful example and lack of true leadership from each of you, and Washington as a whole. Aviation industry operations are built on an absolute culture of safety above all else - a collection of beliefs, perceptions and values - and a philosophy of wide margins of safety. Understaffing, worker financial stress and deteriorating morale dangerously narrow those safety margins. We do not want an air traffic controller at O’Hare – where 124 planes are landed per hour - stressed on the job, worried and distracted by how bills are going to get paid.

The damaging message that the Administration and Congress is sending after 39 days of a shutdown is that the many decades of building a sound and necessary aviation culture - often through lessons-learned from tragedies - is not respected and doesn’t matter. You are making a dangerous, reckless impact on this critical safety culture. One of the foremost principles in sustaining a superior safety culture is accountability. In the case of this shutdown, each of you will be held accountable should safety issues surface due to your impacts on the safety culture and essential safety margins.

We urge you, with the highest degree of urgency, to reopen the government and end this disrespect for our aviation industry safety culture.


Kevin Mitchell

Kevin Mitchell


Business Travel Coalition

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