US Shutdown noticeably starts to affect airports & airlines

The US Government shutdown which has prevented funding for Homeland Security being renewed, and therefore the TSA which is part of its remit, is having a visible impact.

Federal workers for the TSA who manage immigration services at airports are being made to work without pay, but many simply cannot afford to get to work.

Major airports are now saying 10% or more of TSA employees aren’t showing up for work, and security and immigration lines are noticeably longer as processing takes more time.

A decision made in the 1980’s to fire the entire air traffic control staff employed by the federal government in a labour dispute, has also come home to roost.

New traffic control operators were employed and are now reaching the compulsory age 56 retirement age – some 70% of ATC officers will be retired across a five year span.

This has led to huge demands for new ATC training – but the shut down has defunded the FAA training centre even as retiree numbers mount. Ironically the people who process their retirement claims are also furloughed.

Airlines have for the most part managed to avoid serious issues but some are cancelling flights. Alaska announced yesterday that a swathe of new routes – starting with Paine Field’s new offerings – will be suspended until funding is renewed for the FAA who approve the new terminal.

Airlines are now becoming seriously concerned that the length of the shutdown may seriously affect on time arrival/departures for which they can be fined. The longer it goes on the more TSA employees are unlikely to turn up without pay.