Closing of the security checkpoint at Terminal G is set to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, in what would be the 22nd day of a partial shutdown of the federal government.
Some workers are on furlough, while others are required to work even though they had to miss their first paycheck Friday. Airports in San Francisco and Kansas City already do that, with approval from the Transportation Department. Since then, hundreds of TSA workers from at least four major airports have called out sick, CNN reported.
Albert J. Ellis Airport Director Chris White said, "At some point, employees can't continue to work without paychecks, and what impact that has on the airport remains to be seen. That's obviously where it becomes more hard", he said.
"We demand the highest safety and security standards for our transportation network, and rightfully so", Willis said.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association noted that the number controllers is now at a 30-year low, with 18 percent of controllers eligible to retire.
Then over the weekend, travelers reported longer checkpoint lines at some airports, including LaGuardia in NY. You know, our mortgages are not getting paid.
An FAA spokesman said earlier this week that the agency is recalling inspectors and focusing resources on overseeing airline operations.
There is no sign of a compromise to end the shutdown so far: Trump is insisting on funding for a wall on the border with Mexico, but opposition Democrats are not budging.
Bilello said TSA is still hiring officers and working on contingency plans in case the shutdown lasts beyond Friday, when officers would miss their first paycheck since the shutdown began on December 22.
TSA officers screen about 800 million passengers a year. "We thank TSA officers for their resilience and diligence, and we thank industry and the public for their continued acts of kindness and support".
"I can't imagine what the line would be like if they were not here", one passenger said. "We're kind of out in uncharted water here".
"The system is safe and will continue to be safe".
Beyond stalling development and certifications throughout the industry, the shutdown is affecting travel.
"We are allocating FAA resources based on risk assessment to meet all safety critical functions", Martin said.
Unions will hold a rally on Thursday on Capitol Hill urging an end to the shutdown.