Of­fi­cials: TSA staff ‘sick-out’ hav­ing min­i­mal im­pact

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY RASHAAN AYESH AND MYAH WARD [email protected]­sob­server.com [email protected]­lot­teob­server.com Rashaan Ayesh: 919-829-4802, @rashaan_ayesh

De­spite re­ports of Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion work­ers call­ing in sick dur­ing the par­tial fed­eral gov­ern­ment shut­down, there have not been sig­nif­i­cant im­pacts at North Carolina air­ports, a TSA of­fi­cial said.

Max­i­mum stan­dard wait time at Char­lotte Douglas In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Fri­day was 16 min­utes, TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said, and max­i­mum wait time for TSA PreCheck was three­minutes.

About 94 per­cent of peo­ple had less than a 15 minute wait at CLT on Fri­day, Bilello said.

While num­bers weren’t avail­able for Raleigh-Durham In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Bilello said that, like Char­lotte, there has been “min­i­mal im­pact.”

If RDU was short on staff be­cause of the shut­down, it wasn’t no­ticed by some of Satur­day’s pas­sen­gers in­ter­viewed by a News & Ob­server re­porter.

Around noon, roughly 20 trav­el­ers were wait­ing in line to get their IDs checked by TSA work­ers at RDU’s main ter­mi­nal. And few dozen other peo­ple were us­ing one of three lines, plus an ex­pe­dited TSA PreCheck queue, to have their car­ryon bags screened.

Most of those lines dis­si­pated within 15 min­utes, leav­ing the se­cu­rity check­point area mostly empty.

Things also seemed to be mov­ing nor­mally at Char­lotte on Satur­day.

CNN has re­ported that hun­dreds of TSA of­fi­cers were not show­ing up for work in the hub cities of New York and Dal­las, pos­si­bly as a re­sponse to not be­ing paid dur­ing the shut­down.

In that re­port, CNN said se­cu­rity staff call-outs had in­creased by 10 per­cent at CLT and RDU air­ports, quot­ing Mac John­son, a lo­cal TSA work­ers’ union pres­i­dent.

At­tempts to reach John­son on Satur­day were un- suc­cess­ful.

Bilello said he could not val­i­date that 10 per­cent num­ber, but based on wait times and other data, call­outs have had min­i­mal to no im­pact on air­ports in North Carolina and na­tion­wide.

He also said work­ers have yet to miss a pay­check, and that their next pay­day is Fri­day. They have un­til themid­dle of next week to se­cure those funds, Bilello said.

“We’re mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion very closely as we al­ways do,” Bilello said. “We’re al­ways watch­ing to make sure air­ports are prop­erly staffed with TSA of­fi­cers.”

Spokes­peo­ple from both CLT and RDU re­ferred ques­tions about TSA staffing to TSA.

CNN’s cover­age was coun­tered by tweets from both a Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity spokesper­son and the TSA.

CHRIS SEWARD cse­[email protected]­sob­server.com

The Ter­mi­nal 2 se­cu­rity area at Raleigh-Durham In­ter­na­tional Air­port is shown. Some of Satur­day’s pas­sen­gers said they didn’t no­tice a shortage of staff at the air­port.

DAVIE HINSHAW dhin­[email protected]­lot­teob­server.com

Max­i­mum stan­dard wait time at Char­lotte Douglas In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Fri­day was 16 min­utes, TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said,

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