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As shutdown keeps TSA home, MIA airport is closing off a terminal

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bimjim
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As shutdown keeps TSA home, MIA airport is closing off a terminal

Unread post by bimjim » Fri Jan 11, 2019

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/busine ... 60800.html

As shutdown keeps TSA screeners home, Miami’s airport is closing off a terminal
Douglas Hanks and Taylor Dolven
January 10, 2019

With more federal security screeners refusing to work without pay, Miami International Airport plans to cut off access to one of its terminals over the weekend in order to send TSA workers to busier checkpoints, a spokesman said Thursday night.

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. Federal screeners are calling in sick at double the normal rate for Miami, and TSA managers aren’t confident they will have enough workers to operate all 11 checkpoints at normal hours throughout the airport, said MIA spokesman Greg Chin.

“We felt we had to make a decision before the weekend,” Chin said. “They’re erring on the side of caution.”

Terminal G, used by United, Bahamas Air and other airlines, will reopen for morning flights on Sunday. It will then close again at 1 p.m., Chin said.

Thursday night, a United spokeswoman issued a statement predicting passengers won’t be impacted by the logistical scramble.

“We will work to ensure we do everything we can for our customers, and we do not expect any operational impact,” the airline said.

Planes will still be able to drop off passengers at Terminal G throughout the day. But once the security checkpoint closes, outbound passengers will have no access to the gates and the restaurants and shops that depend on departing flights for business will shut down, too, Chin said.

Like other federal workers considered essential, TSA screeners have been working without pay throughout a shutdown that began Dec. 22. Because of lags in pay cycles, TSA workers are set to miss their first paycheck on Friday. That’s raising concerns that TSA will see even more employees calling in sick and dropping shifts as they pursue other options for income if the shutdown continues.

President Donald Trump has demanded Congress approve $5 billion for a wall on the southern border as part of the legislative package needed to fund parts of the government for another year. Congressional Democrats aren’t budging on their opposition to the wall.

At MIA, some passengers have complained about long waits in screening lines. But Chin said the airport has been monitoring security checkpoints and they have not seen abnormal delays.

Flights that usually leave from that terminal will use gates elsewhere in the airport. Chin said G was chosen because it’s the slowest concourse at MIA. He said only 12 planes usually fly out of G after 1 p.m., meaning the disruption only affects about 3 percent of the roughly 450 departing flights MIA sees on a typical day.

But local officials at the county-owned airport and federal managers are bracing for more workforce disruptions if the shutdown continues. Chin said an increase in TSA employees not reporting to work would prompt the airport to close a security checkpoint at terminals that have multiple entry points, such as Concourse J or Concourse D.

United is the largest airline using G, which is also home to Aruba Airlines, Bahamasair, Frontier Airlines and Sun Country.

At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, a spokesman said TSA “call-outs” have been minimal and that they aren’t planning to cutback on security checkpoints — yet.

“We’re staying in touch with them to see if those dynamics change,” he said. “If there’s a shortage, the airport may have airline workers step in for non-technical positions like reviewing boarding passes before the checkpoints.”

Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/busine ... rylink=cpy

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bimjim
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Re: As shutdown keeps TSA home, MIA airport is closing off a terminal

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Jan 12, 2019

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/busine ... 10010.html

Concourse G closes at Miami International Airport as federal government shutdown drags on
Taylor Dolven
January 12, 2019

TSA shortages pushed MIA to close the check point at Concourse G on Saturday as the U.S. the government remained shut down. Terminal G is used by United, Bahamas air and other airlines and will reopen for morning flights on Sunday. It will then close again at 1 p.m. The plan is to repeat the schedule Monday, with the possibility of the hours returning to normal during the week.

Miami International Airport’s Concourse G closed at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday — 15 minutes earlier than planned — as the federal government remained shut down for a 22nd day, making it the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

The airport was forced to shutter the concourse for the afternoon due to a shortage of Transportation Safety Administration officers, who have been working without pay for three weeks and are missing more shifts as the shutdown drags on.

The closure allowed the airport to send TSA workers to busier checkpoints.

Concourse G — used by United, Bahamasair, Aruba Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Sun Country — is the least busiest of the terminals; around 12 planes usually fly out of G after 1 p.m., making up just 3 percent of the roughly 450 flights from MIA on a typical day.

As 1 p.m. approached on Saturday, TSA agents turned passengers away from Concourse G’s checkpoint and told them to head to F or H. At 12:45 p.m., TSA agents spread large, red “NO ENTRY” signs across the metal detectors, and filed out of the concourse. The inside of the concourse looked deserted. Security lines at F and H checkpoints remained normal despite the extra foot traffic.

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TSA agents quit amid shutdown — but not at these airports with private security
January 11, 2019 5:06 PM

Concourse G will reopen for morning flights on Sunday. It will close again at 1 p.m. Sunday and then reopen for morning flights Monday. At that point, the airport’s directors will decide whether to fully open Concourse G during the week or keep it partially closed. Airport spokesperson Greg Chin said if more TSA agents continue to miss work, MIA may be forced to close a security checkpoint at concourses J or D, which could mean more significant disruptions.

While Concourse G is closed, so are its restaurants and shops. Workers at those shops are being relocated to work in other areas of the airport temporarily. Those businesses may have to cut shifts for workers if the concourse remains closed through the week, as a ripple effect of the chaos in Washington D.C.

Like other federal workers considered essential, TSA screeners have been working without pay throughout a shutdown that began Dec. 22.

President Donald Trump continues to demand Congress sign off on $5 billion for a wall on the southern border as part of the legislative package needed to fund parts of the government for another year. Congressional Democrats aren’t budging on their opposition to the wall. On Friday, federal workers, including MIA TSA agents, missed their first paychecks.

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