TSA staffing shortages hit nation's busiest airports amid government shutdown

TSA Airport Security Control

"In 2015, the acting administrator for the TSA was reassigned after a report found that airport screeners failed to detect explosives and weapons in almost every test that an undercover team conducted at dozens of airports". As in, the TSA agents have either been furloughed or aren't being paid at the moment.

The president has insisted on more than $5 billion in funding for his long-promised wall at the U.S. -Mexico border.

TSA dismissed the suggestion the government shutdown, which is now the longest in US history, is to blame for the security lapse.

Some airport security lanes in Atlanta, Washington and Houston were closed as the Transportation Security Administration continued to grapple with more absenteeism during the partial government shutdown.

"It happens because the technology doesn't get everything all the time.either there's a technology issue, there's a procedural issue, or there's a training issue", TSA Administrator David Pekoske said.

That jump is probably related to a national trend of TSA employees calling in sick to protest having to work without pay during the shutdown.

Gregory, the TSA spokesman said that was not a TSA decision.

TSA said that it screened 1.97 million people on Sunday and that 99.1 percent waited less than 30 minutes, and 93.1 percent less than 15 minutes.


The troubles at Atlanta are magnified because of the airport's prominence. Under guidelines from the federal Office of Personnel Management, paid time off is canceled for employees, including the airport screeners, who are exempt from certain federal labor laws.

Across the USA, airports are making changes to deal with the shortage of screeners.

Durham urged passengers to check wait times at ATL.com or our iFlyATL APP, and to allow three hours to clear airport security during domestic travel.

Dulles International Airport is also suffering from shortages due to the shutdown and, when combined with the snowstorm hitting the Washington, D.C., area, it is being forced to make adjustments. "Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of the shutdown".

While the shutdown's effects on airport operations do not appear to be widespread right now, smaller airports could be most vulnerable, because even a few absent TSA workers could cause long security lines.

Travellers are prevented from entering a closed down terminal at the Miami International Airport.

The day after that passenger brought the gun onto a flight in Atlanta, CNN reported that hundreds of TSA agents from at least four major airports had called in sick to work.

Trahan said he was not sure when the airport will reopen the closed terminal.

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