About one-third of the Federal Aviation Administration remains furloughed because of the ongoing government shutdown.
The Professional Aviation Safety Specialists union told 22News this means more flights across the country could be taking off without the FAA’s usual oversight safety checks.
Airlines do conduct their own safety checks before takeoff, but the FAA double checks that work to ensure the planes are safe, according to the aviation union.
“I’m still going to fly,” said Jeff McDowell, who was flying from Bradley International Airport to Louisiana. “It’s a lot safer to fly than drive.”
A spokesperson for the FAA told 22News that inspectors and engineers are starting to be called back to work, and said, “the traveling public can be assured our nation’s aviation system is safe.”
“You got to have all your checks and balances, and if you’re missing stuff that can’t be good,” said Marty Verner of Florida.
Across the country, TSA employees are working without pay, causing some to call out sick. At Bradley International Airport though, airport spokeswoman Alisa Sisic said lines haven’t gotten any longer due to the shutdown.
McDowell told 22News he’s been flying frequently throughout the shutdown, and hasn’t had any problems.
“Not too much of a problem in Atlanta,” said McDowell. “The other day it was not a problem. I’m not worried about it, but I did arrive a little bit early.”