TSA sends reinforcements to Newark Airport as officers miss work over shutdown

Posted Jan 18, 2019

Facing a busy travel weekend and an increase in officers calling out of work, the Transportation Security Administration confirmed Friday it sent staff from around the country to help boost its ranks at Newark Airport.

The TSA said 6.4 percent of its nationwide staff missed work Thursday compared to a 3.8 percent rate at the same time last year. Many officers - who are laboring without pay from the partial federal government shutdown - reported they “are not able to report to work due to financial limitations," according to an agency statement.

Members of the TSA’s National Deployment Force, which is often used in major events or natural disasters to help the local workforce, were sent to Newark Airport, according to a spokesman. TSA officers in the force are available to travel to areas outside of their home base.

“In coordination with airport authorities and airlines, TSA will continue to optimize resources, manage consolidation efforts, and ensure screening lanes are properly staffed,” TSA spokesman Thomas Kelly said.

“TSA has built great flexibility into its system, and usage of the NDF will allow the agency to bolster available screening officers at airports across the country to maintain the highest security standards,” the spokesman said.

It was unclear how many TSA officers missed work at Newark Airport or how many extra screeners were called in. The spokesman said the agency does not disclose airport-specific call-out numbers.

“TSA has built great flexibility into its system, and usage of the NDF will allow the agency to bolster available screening officers at airports across the country to maintain the highest security standards,” the spokesman said.

It was unclear how many TSA officers missed work at Newark Airport or how many extra screeners were called in. The spokesman said the agency does not disclose airport-specific call-out numbers.

TSA officials estimate more than 8 million passengers will be screened through Monday, a 10.8 percent increase from the last Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

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