Government Shutdown: TSA Absences Increase, Terminals Close

Transportation Security Administration agents help passengers through a security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport
Transportation Security Administration agents help passengers through a security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport. // Photo by AP Photo/Seth Wenig via Newscred

Absences by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport security officers increased over the weekend as the government shutdown continues, multiple media outlets are reporting. 
According to ABC News, 7.7 percent of the agency’s employees had an unscheduled absence on Sunday, more than double the rate of 3.2 percent one year ago. At the same time, TSA spokesperson Michael Bilello had said that 99.9 percent of U.S. airline passengers experienced wait times of 30 minutes or less at airport security checkpoints, although official wait time data for Sunday was not immediately available. 

Last week the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) had warned that the government shutdown could have a bigger impact on the travel industry the longer it continues, as the shutdown means government workers, including TSA screeners and air traffic controllers, need to work without pay. 

CNBC reports that absences by TSA officers forced airports in Houston and Miami to each shut down one of their terminals over the weekend. George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston closed the security checkpoint and ticketing counters in Terminal B on Sunday. That terminal remains closed on Monday morning. Miami International Airport shut down the checkpoint at Concourse G over the weekend, although operations should have returned to normal as of Monday morning, according to the airport’s official Twitter account. 

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According to Fox 31 in Denver, Denver International Airport is continuing normal operations. 

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