As we enter into the eighteenth day of a partial government shutdown, there are reports that the effects are now being felt in the airline industry—mainly by those who are frequent travelers by air.
Over this past weekend, there were several locations that reported longer than normal security check-in lines. The problem was attributed to the rising number of security officers that are calling in sick, since they are not getting paid while the partial government shutdown is in progress.
Even the much relied upon safety inspectors are not currently working or on the job. A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration stated that currently the safety inspectors are only being called back to work on a case-by-case basis, and then only with the priority of inspecting the fleets of airlines.
The partial shutdown of the government, so far, had only been visible with the closing of various government buildings as well as some national parks. There is also the fact that of trash starting to pile up on the National Mall in front of the Capital, due to no workers on duty to keep it tidy and clean.
It is worth mentioning, the problems will only continue to get worse. If the shutdown persists for much longer, those on government assistance will begin to feel the pinch the most, as those benefitting from such programs as the food stamps program will soon be without any aid.
When it comes to the actual effect of the shutdown on the airlines, those not affected are approximately 10,000 air traffic controllers as well as approximately 51,000 transportation security administration officers who are classified as and deemed necessary, and as such are not included in the shutdown
Then there are those individuals in the areas that are not deemed essential. The TSA is quick to state that the effect is minimal however, they are also stating that screeners at airports country-wide have called off sick since the holidays, being they are amongst those not getting paid during the shutdown.
A spokesman for the TSA stated that as of right now they are managing with the reduced number of workers showing up to work. However, if the shutdown continues much longer, they are not sure how their current method of management will endure.
Has the lack of airline personnel affected air travel to an even wider-reaching extent than realized?