WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WTNH) — Bradley International Airport is preparing for its busiest time of year — the same time as a potential government shutdown.
“November 17th is fast approaching,” Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn) said.
The possibility of a looming shutdown is top of mind for many at airport security lines.
“Every time I fly down here, they know us in terms of the delegation, and they always ask what’s the latest,” Courtney said.
Courtney got a tour Monday of the Transportation Security Administration’s operations and upgraded security equipment at Bradley International Airport. He told employees he’s hopeful a shutdown can be avoided, following Rep. Mike Johnson’s (R-La) election as Speaker of the House.
Federal workers, like TSA officers, are hoping for the same, as their paychecks would be put on hold.
“They still by and large live mostly paycheck-to-paycheck, and that’s just unacceptable they have to have their pay periods interrupted,” Courtney said.
According to the TSA, 59,000 of the agency’s 62,000 employees are considered “essential” and would continue to work — but without pay.
In a statement sent to News 8 New England Region Spokesman Daniel Velez said that a shutdown could mean longer waits to get through airport security. He said that during the last shutdown, “The lapse in funding took a toll on the agency, with growing numbers of TSA Officers saying they were unable to report to work. It’s very, very hard for anybody to go for 20 days, 30 days, 40 days or longer without receiving a paycheck.”
Bradley International Airport is expecting a big holiday season, with air travel up from the last few years.
Farmington resident Dave Findley, who is flying to Florida in December, and said he isn’t worried about impacts to the airport.
“Is it really going to happen? The government never shuts down, only pieces,” Findley said.
Courtney said legislators may be able to avoid the shutdown by delaying passing the budget until after the holiday season, but he hopes it won’t come to that.