Monday, 18 March, 2019


US air travel concerns surface as gov't shutdown drags on

US air travel concerns surface as gov't shutdown drags on US air travel concerns surface as gov't shutdown drags on
Conrad Doyle | 12 January, 2019, 08:56

However, some of the officers are still coming in to work.

Bill Kisseadoo, president of the Miami union for federal air-traffic controllers, said the missed payday has escalated the pressure on the roughly 100 workers at MIA's control tower who are supposed to focus exclusively on helping planes take off and land safely.

Airport spokesman Greg Chin said Thursday that the security checkpoints at one of the airport's six terminals, Terminal G, will close at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday due to a shortage of TSA screeners.

At issue is a lack of agents from the US Transportation Security Administration, who are seen as "essential" federal workers and hence are still on the job - but without pay until the shutdown ends.

Chin told the Miami Herald that federal screeners are calling in sick at double the normal rate for Miami, and TSA managers aren't confident they will have enough workers to operate all 11 checkpoints throughout the airport at normal hours. Wait times are already up at many airports as some screeners call out sick, rather than work without pay. The TSA said the effect was "minimal".

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport organized a resource fair to bring together credit unions, utility representatives and nonprofit organizations to help federal employees access short term loans and assistance programs, said spokesman Perry Cooper.

The shutdown was triggered by a standoff over funding for President Donald Trump's proposal to build a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

- This Friday would typically be a payday for federal employees but it's going to be just another day as the shutdown drags into its third week.

"The widespread impact on the business travel industry is undeniable", said Michael McCormick, executive director and chief operating officer for GBTA.

Lauri, from Dearborn, has been a TSA agent for about 16 years.

Lines at the nation's airports have been normal, Bilello said. TSA said only about 220,000 travelers waited at least 15 minutes at checkpoints, while 0.2 percent - fewer than 5,000 - waited at least 30 minutes.

The Transportation Security Administration said that 5.1 percent of screeners were absent on Thursday, up from 3.3 percent on the same date past year.

Earlier this month, the Air Line Pilots Association International, which represents 61,000 pilots, sent a letter to Trump urging him to end the shutdown and warning that it is threatening the safe operations of the airspace system.

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