Syracuse Hancock International Airport was largely unaffected by the 35 day government shutdown that impacted many airports across the country. TSA Federal Security Director Bart Johnson said nothing changed for the agency’s employees in Syracuse.
“The security officers did an absolutely wonderful job. They were there on time. They know what their job is. It is a critically important mission making certain that the traveling public gets to their destination safely and on time. And what was also wonderful was the response of the public. They were just overwhelmingly appreciative and understanding, in every sense of the word.”
Johnson oversees all of New York’s airports outside of New York City. He says there were no increases in TSA employees calling out of work or airport security wait times. Johnson believes many of the employees had support systems that helped them through the shutdown.
“I was out in Syracuse probably three times dealing with the workforce and every person I spoke to had a support system, whether it’s family or whether or not they had savings. I’m sure some people had some difficulties, but, once again, it didn’t impact their performance at all."
While the shutdown did not negatively impact travelers, its solution is only temporary. The funding to pay TSA and other federal employees could stop again in just three weeks if Congress and the President can’t reach an agreement on border security. Hancock Airport spokesperson Jennifer Sweetland knows problems could arise if there is another shutdown.
“We’re looking forward to it all coming to a resolution and we hope that we can continue our operation as business as usual.”
While it remains to be seen if there will be another shutdown, the airport’s next challenge will be the weather. Extreme cold and about a foot of snow are expected starting later tomorrow.