Miami Airport Forced To Close Major Terminal After TSA Agents Call Out Sick
By Sharelle Burt
If travelers are flying out of this Miami airport, they may want to get there sooner than later. Not because of traffic, but because one of their concourses will be shutting down earlier than usual.
Miami International Airport will be shutting down Concourse G early at 1 p.m starting on Saturday and reopening Monday. Passengers will have no access to the terminal after the checkpoint closes. Airlines flying out during afternoon hours have been forced to shift flights to other terminals throughout the airport. If passengers arrive after 1 p.m, they will still be able to exit the terminal normally, but all businesses in the wing, including restaurants will be closed.
“Due to an increased number of TSA screeners not reporting to work, we have decided to take this precautionary step and relocate about 12 flights to adjoining concourses in the afternoons,” Miami International spokesman Greg Chin said. “We felt we had to make a decision before the weekend. They’re erring on the side of caution.” Miami International is one of the largest airports in the country and a top gateway to Latin America. With TSA workers calling in sick at two times the national average, TSA and other officials weren’t confident they would have enough screeners at all of the airport’s checkpoints.
Concourse G was selected because of its minimal traffic over others. United Airlines is the biggest carrier flying out of the terminal but generally hosts flights for Aruba Airlines, Bahamasair, Frontier and Sun Country. Chin said only 12 flights leave from G after 1 p.m. on a typical business day. Regardless, Miami airport had been advising passengers to arrive early since the start of the government shutdown. “Due to the federal funding lapse, we recommend arriving at least 2 hours before your domestic flight and 3 hours before your international flight this weekend,” the airport tweeted.
Today is the first day that federal agents, including TSA agents, will be missing a paycheck, so industry observers are trying to see how that affects travel.