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Officials say operations are normal at three major Michigan airports despite partial shutdown

Erik Przekop

Officials at Detroit Metro Airport, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport and Flint Bishop International Airport said their operations have been normal  despite the partial government shutdown. 

They referred further questions to the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration. 

TSA spokesman Jim Gregory said wait times in security lines are in the usual range. 

"Detroit, Monday, saw a maximum wait time by our measurements of 17 minutes in our standard screening line and just four minutes in TSA pre-check," said Gregory.

Gregory said the threat of not getting paid on time adds to stress for TSA agents. But he said the agency is not loosening security standards.

"Our primary focus is making sure that security is maintained," Gregory said. "And we haven't altered our procedures at all. That's something that's going to continue no matter what."

Gregory said the national unscheduled absence rate by TSA agents on Monday was 4.6 percent, compared to 3.8 percent one year ago.

"I'm not an expert in statistics," said Gregory. "But I don't see that as being significant right now. It's certainly something we're watching."

In a January 2 letterto President Trump, the Air Line Pilots Association International urged him to immediately end the partial shutdown because it  is "adversely affecting the safety, security, and efficiency of our national airspace system."

According to the letter, "At the FAA, there are fewer safety inspectors than are needed to ensure the air traffic control infrastructure is performing at its peak levels of performance. There are also airline and aircraft manufacturing oversight activities that either stop or are significantly reduced."

In a written statement on Tuesday, the FAA said the nation's airspace system is safe.

Air traffic controllers and the technicians who maintain the nation's airspace system continue to work without pay as they fill a critical mission to ensure the public's safety. Inspectors are limited to emergency essential activities which are defined as activities that protect life and property in which there is some reasonable likelihood that either or both would be compromised to some significant degree by the delay in the performance of an agency function. We prioritize available resources and as such, inspectors are recalled and deployed as needed for required inspections for air carriers.