SA Int'l Airport seeing minimal impact from government shutdown

TSA, federal workers on the job despite no pay

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio International Airport is seeing "business as usual" as the federal government's partial shutdown enters Day 24, according to the city's aviation director.

It's a stark contrast to Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport that had to close a terminal over the weekend, and other airports experiencing long lines because so many Transportation Security Administration workers called in sick.

Local TSA workers were screening passengers despite getting no paycheck last week and having no idea when they will be paid. 

"We have 100 percent manning," said San Antonio aviation director Russ Handy. "Our folks are coming to work and getting the job done, and I couldn't be more proud of them."

It's not just the 250-plus TSA workers, but also those with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Aviation Administration.    

All screening lines were manned and open Monday afternoon. The lighted sign indicated the passenger screening line was 15 minutes or less.

While there may be no pay, there were tacos on Monday morning, as federal employees at the airport were treated to free breakfast tacos followed by a barbecue lunch.

"Our airline partners, restaurant partners and members of the community are really reaching out to say, 'Thank you,'" Handy said.

He said the generosity is appreciated and boosting morale, adding some people are offering small gift cards that employees can use for groceries. Federal employees are limited as to the gifts they can accept. 

As for the manpower issues seen at other airports, Handy said he's watching the situation.

"I can't promise that won't happen," he said. "I can't see how long the shutdown will occur, but right now, we are getting the job done."

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