BILLINGS – The effects of the partial government shutdown can be felt across the country, including in Billings.
At Billings Logan International Airport, Cape Air is currently waiting on more than 100 new aircraft from Italy to replace its aging fleet, but the airline will not be able to get them until they can be inspected, which won’t happen until after the shutdown is over.
Kevin Ploehn, the city’s director of aviation and transit, said the airport also recently finished a new facility that is now sitting on hold.
“We have a new facility that we are trying to get up and running. And that’s an airline port facility, which is basically a glorified name for a lavatory dump,” said Ploehn. “It’s done, it’s sitting out there, but we can’t use it because we don’t have an FDA inspection available.”
The shutdown is also impacting those who work at the airport. Transportation Security Administration officers and air traffic controllers are coming up on a full month of working without pay.
“The restaurant here has provided them with some free lunches. Some of the airlines have chipped in and got them pizzas,” said Ploehn. “A lot of that is kind of going on but, you know, and it’s a nice thing, but you know in the end, they still need that paycheck and boy, its gotta be challenging for them right now.”
Ploehn also mentioned another concern for the airport is funding from the federal government. Construction of a new terminal set to begin in September and the airport is relying on federal money to help get it done.
Click here for Q2’s full Thursday night coverage of the government shutdown.