The six-week government shutdown going on the US has caused a lot of financial hardships for US citizens with some not been able to report to work. To them, this is a hard moment that they had not foreseen after voting in current President Donald Trump. Among the hardest hit industries is the travel industry with six of the 13 most crucial traffic controllers having no staff on Friday. Many didn’t report to work due to financial strains having worked for several months without pay.
The six control flights controllers are the Centre piece that connects flights from New York City region to the mid-Atlantic area. With the flight’s controller of the results were 3,000 flights delayed by Friday afternoon resulting to millions of passengers missing their appointments, business meetings and arriving home late. According to information from concerned parties, the situation was dire in East Cost on Friday with massive delays. The most affected airports were Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport. The latter is in New York while the former is in New Jersey. Many have come out to air their views about the situation with Gary Kelly Southwest CEO saying;
“We need this situation to come to an end immediately. The effects will harm the economy greatly and cause more problems in the air industry.”
Federal Aviation Administration tried to salvage the Situation
In a bid to try and salvage the situation the FAA had to adjust by first of all placing a lot of space between flights already underway, reroute other flights and also reschedule staff working shifts to cater for missing team. According to a spokesperson from FAA, they had an increase in the number of sick leave applications last week in their Florida and Virginia offices and had to take the above measures to avoid a complete shutdown of the airport.
Sigh of Relief
In their bid to get the government to end their stand the air traffic agency was ford to paint a broader picture of the situation on the ground on Thursday night by showing the government how millions of Americans are affected by the situation. Through their resilience and hard stand, their effects born fruits with the government announcing the following day they had reached a deal. On Friday afternoon the government through the President himself announced that they had reached a deal with concerned parties. Although the agreement will bring things back to normal for the next three weeks, it’s a sigh of relief for airport screeners and their traffic controller counterparts. The president made the announcement when he visited lectern in the Rose Garden.
For Roger Dow US Travel Association trade group president, he hopes the deal reached by concerned parties will put an end the woes the travel industry is experiencing due to the government shutdown. Mr. Dow finished off by saying,
“If the current economic hardships being experienced by the travel industry aren’t taken care off in a quick manner the effects will be felt downstream in other sectors and poke holes in the economy. And end up affecting the economy of the whole country.”
Over the weekend the absence of staff at airports was alarming and a shock to the airline operators and passengers. The lines were long due to the lack of airport screeners with 10% of the total workers not been able to show up at work. On the other hand, the airliners experienced huge loses in revenue with Southwest Airlines losing revenue to the tune of $15 million. Their counterparts Delta Air Lines lost $25 million.
While the temperatures might have calmed down due to the deal, others see the current situation as only a temporary measure until February 15th when the agreement comes to an end. On the other hand, others are praising the deal reached with the government. At the forefront of praising the government for the agreement are leaders from the flight attendants and pilots union. The latter had raised concerns over the looming security concerns because of the shutdown.
But on the other hand, David Cox representative of airport screeners employed by the Transportation Security Administration wasn’t so happy about the current situation. While airing out his view, he said;
“Many of us have been waiting for the reopening of the government for quite some time. And now that it’s done I can’t say I’m happy with the way things have been in the past few months. It’s quite a shame that a politically created situation is affecting millions of federal employees who have to anguish over how to pay mortgages, feed their loved ones and pay bills.”
Mr. Cox also doubles up as the national President for American Federation of Government Employees.
Although many passengers were thrown off by the flight delays, they finally reached their destinations. The administration did their best to control the predicament they were in by utilizing the little workforce they had left. The shutdown affected 420,000 TSA agents and air traffic controllers who had to work without a salary. The number represents only those affected in the travel industry with a lot of other government employees affected in other sectors.