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Number of Airport Security ‘No Shows’ Increase During Shutdown

By Parker Diakite

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As the partial government shutdown continues into its fourth week, the number of airport security screeners not showing up for work is increasing.

The number of no-shows among screeners reported by the Transportation Security Administration jumped to 6.8 percent compared to 2.5 percent this last year.

Monday marked the first business day after screeners did not receive a paycheck for the first time since the shutdown began, the Associated Press reports.

As a direct result of the decrease in airport security workers, passengers are seeing an increase in the amount of time it takes to get through security checkpoints.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, one of the world’s busiest airports, saw some passengers waiting more than an hour to get through checkpoints.

A recent tweet by airport officials advised passengers to arrive at least three hours early to get through security.

One passenger described the security checkpoint lines at Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta as “chaos.”

“This line, I’ve been here about 15 minutes, and it has moved 2 feet,” Vincent Smith told the media outlet.

With the lack of funding, a statement on TSA’s website reads:

“Due to the lapse in federal funding, this website will not be actively managed.  This website was last updated on  December 21, 2018 and will not be updated until funding is enacted.

“As such, information on this website may not be up to date.  Transactions submitted via this website night not be processed, and we will not be able to respond to inquiries until after appropriations are enacted.”

Michael Bilello, spokesperson for TSA, tweeted “TSA, airport authorities and airlines continue to work closely to ensure resources are optimized, efforts to consolidate operations are actively managed, and screening lanes are properly staffed.”

He continued, “Some airports are exercising contingency plans that ensure & maintain effective security due to call-outs & anticipated high-volume. Travelers should allow enough time to get through the airport & board their flight.”

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