Federal aviation employees cite potential safety issues from shutdown, what’s happening here?

New Delhi, January 12, 2019:  If you are flying anytime soon, will the government shut down affect your safety on the ground or in the air? Aviation groups including pilots, air traffic controllers, and others are saying yes.  Hundreds of aviation employees attended a rally in Washington Thursday along with other federal workers, calling called for an end to the shutdown.

Donna Servais was traveling back home out of the Savannah Hilton Head International Airport about the same time as the rally.  “It would be nice to be done with (the shutdown).  I have family members that are impacted by it,” she told me.

Locally, airport officials say there don’t seem to be any problems here and no back ups in the security screening lines.  But there is the word that some TSA employees may soon be calling in sick at larger airports.  Servais says she often flies to Savannah out of Minneapolis so she’s concerned about long security lines as she is starting her travel. She also says she worries a little about fewer air traffic controllers.

“The air traffic controller issue would probably be a bigger concern of mine versus a longer security line although both might impact security,” Servais said according to wsav.com. 

The Airline Pilots Association International wrote a letter to President Trump on January 2, outlining its concerns about potential safety issues, citing such things as fewer FAA safety inspectors.  The letter also stated that the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Homeland Security (DSH) have dual roles/  “They are both regulators and services providers,” the letter said.  “When any of their responsibilities are placed on pause due to a shut down there are safety, security and efficiency gaps that immediately emerge.”

Savannah airport officials say at this time, they don’t anticipate holds up in such things as security lines and said this is now a slower time of year for air traffic as the holidays have passed.

Federal employees that gathered in Washington chanted, “Pay workers, Furlough Trump,” as they wound their way to the White House.

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