US air travel ‘less safe’ since government shutdown: NATCA

Air travel has become more dangerous due to the partial US government shutdown that began on December 22, a leader of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association said in an interview on Wednesday.

“I would say [flying] is less safe today than it was a month ago, absolutely,” Trish Gilbert, the executive vice president of the labor union, told CNN.

Gilbert explained that airports around the country are ‘working with barebone crews’.

“We have controllers there doing what they do very, very well – but how long can you expect them to do it without all of the systems behind them to keep the system safe?” Gilbert said.

Air traffic controllers have continued to work without pay but thousands of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) workers have been sent home to wait out the shutdown.

The FAA reportedly plans to call many furloughed employees back to work, but they will not be paid until the shutdown ends.