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Air Traffic Controllers Release Statement Warning Of Serious Danger From The Shutdown

Air traffic controllers and other airline employees released an ominous joint statement warning the public about “a growing concern for the safety and security of our members, our airlines, and the traveling public due to the government shutdown.” The statement comes from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) President Joe DePete, and Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) President Sara Nelson.

According to the statement, there was already a critical staffing shortage in our nation’s airports, with air traffic control facilities suffering 30-year staffing lows. “[C]ontrollers are only able to maintain the system’s efficiency and capacity by working overtime, including 10-hour days and 6-day workweeks at many of our nation’s busiest facilities.”

Air traffic controllers already faced a high-stress job with a ton of responsibility. Now, these individuals are not being paid, and the worst part is that 20 percent of them are eligible to retire right now. If they decide to retire rather than continue to come to work without pay, “the National Airspace System (NAS) will be crippled.”

Experts and airport employees have been warning the public about this threat for weeks already. With the government shutdown already 12 days longer than the previous longest shutdown, the consequences are difficult to predict – but they are expected to be dire.

“Last Saturday, TSA management announced that a growing number of officers cannot come to work due to the financial toll of the shutdown. In addition, we are not confident that system-wide analyses of safety reporting data, which is used to identify and implement corrective actions in order to reduce risks and prevent accidents is 100 percent operational due to reduced FAA resources.”

Translation: If you don’t absolutely have to fly right now, don’t.

The statement ends by urging Congress to re-open the government immediately, especially since they cannot keep expecting airport workers to continue showing up to work without pay. On the same day that this statement was released, Mitch McConnell blocked a bill to re-open most of the government for the fourth time. Lara Trump, meanwhile, said that the shutdown has inflicted a “little bit of pain” upon government workers. You know what hurts a lot? Being in an airplane crash.

Meanwhile, the Democrats attempted a compromise by offering the full $5.7 billion for border security as long as it’s not used on any new structures, including a big pointless racism wall. In response, Trump said that the shutdown could continue to drag on for “a while.”

America is not happy.

Keep your feet on the ground, everybody.