Traveler concerns for security at RSW grow, gov’t shutdown continues

Travel safety concerns grow as the partial government shutdown in Washington D.C. continues. TSA agents could lose out on their next scheduled paycheck if this continues. Now, some planes aren’t being inspected by the Federal Aviation Administration before they fly.

People at Southwest Florida International Airport say they are getting to their flight hours ahead of departure times Monday with concerns for their safety.

“I think it’s really scary,” traveler Doris Sherwood said.

Many travelers are questioning the safety of the planes they are boarding, since security is less than usual due to the partial shutdown.

“I really rely on that to feel safe on the plane,” Sherwood said. “So I’m afraid of it.”

TSA lines are long at RSW, and travelers like Sherwood have waited hours in line to get through security.

“Very busy, the line was all the way down the hall,” Sherwood said. “It was crazy.”

TSA employees are showing up to work without pay. They will lose out on their next scheduled paycheck before next weekend unless the shutdown ends, so hundreds of workers are not showing up to airports nationwide.

However, TSA said the call outs are not impacting RSW’s operations, but some passengers disagree.

“There’s not enough security in the airports that there should be,” traveler Mae Fluharty said. “It’s dangerous.”

Lubomir Gueorguiev, chief flight instructor at Beaver Flight School, said safety inspectors are responsible for checking pilot history, inspecting plane repairs and investigating accidents.

“Every operator who operates planes doesn’t meet the training,” Gueorguiev said. “They are regulated by FAA so they have regular inspection.”

Gueorguiev is worried furloughed FAA agents aren’t overseeing any of it.

“You just want to make sure the plane is safe before you fly,” Sherwood said.

The union representing the flight inspectors confirmed this. They have been off the job since the shutdown began.

TSA told WINK News security measures inside RSW aren’t compromised because of the shutdown, but wait times could continue to rise.

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