Absences among USA airport screeners jump as shutdown drags on

Travellers wait near a closed down terminal at the Miami International Airport

BRYNN ANDERSON APTravellers wait near a closed down terminal at the Miami International Airport

However, Billelo says the lower staffing numbers will not compromise security.

"Upon the customer's disclosure, the airline reported the incident to TSA, " Delta tells PEOPLE in a statement.

Meanwhile at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, all checkpoints were open this weekend and appeared to be operating normally. "TSA men and women across the country continue to report for work at our nation's airports to secure aviation". The number of illness-related absences has doubled since the shutdown started, Miami officials said.

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have been struggling to pay for basic necessities as the shutdown has reached its 24th day, making it the longest government shutdown in USA history, thanks to President Donald Trump's refusal to sign any appropriations bill that doesn't include $5.7 billion for a southwestern border wall.

Airport spokesman Greg Chin said TSA was staffing the Concourse G checkpoint today, but airport officials were monitoring the situation and would make more adjustments if necessary.

The TSA on Monday experienced more than twice the normal rate of security officers calling in sick, agency spokesman Michael Bilello said in a tweet. An estimated 51,000 TSA agents are among them.

Get push notifications with news, features and more. About 95 per cent waited less than 15 minutes, according to the data. "We thank TSA officers for their resilience and diligence, and we thank industry and the public for their continued acts of kindness and support".

McDonald says every TSA agent scheduled to work Monday showed up, and with a positive attitude.

Earlier this month, the Air Line Pilots Association International, which represents 61,000 pilots, sent a letter to Trump urging him to end the shutdown and warning that it is threatening the safe operations of the airspace system.

Some aid groups are also stepping up to provide groceries and other necessities to cash-strapped security screeners.

TSA agents are among the 420,000 federal workers considered essential employees required to work without their paychecks. "I know that other places have, but not here in Burlington or in Rutland for that matter", said the airport's Bruce McDonald. 60 people walked in for help in the first hour. "We need them to keep the airport running".

TSA employees can receive food with valid identification.

"Please contact the airport for more information".

TSA Administrator David Pekoske announced Friday that agency employees will receive a day's pay if they worked on December 22, and that uniformed officers will also net a $500 bonus for their efforts during the holidays - pay to be received by Tuesday, the agency said.

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