Shortages of federal airport security workers in the partial U.S. government shutdown forced several large U.S. airports to close security lanes Monday.
On Monday, spokeswoman Elise Durham said travelers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport, faced hour-long lines to get through security after the airport shut security lanes “due to the shutdown.” . The Atlanta airport is encouraging travelers to arrive at the airport three hours before domestic flights.
The TSA said unscheduled absences of its passenger screeners reached 7.6 percent Monday, more than twice the rate from a year ago. TSA’s 51,000 officers are among the 420,000 federal employees deemed essential who are ordered to work despite not receiving a regular paycheck during the shutdown. The officers missed their first scheduled check Friday. The agency said it was handing out $500 bonuses to officers.
Washington Dulles International Airport also consolidated security checkpoints, and at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the Terminal B security checkpoint remained closed until at least late afternoon on Monday because of staffing issues, spokesman Patrick Trahan said.
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