Miami International Airport will reopen shuttered terminal Monday

Airport experiencing TSA staff shortage caused by government shutdown


MIAMI – Miami International Airport plans to reopen a terminal Monday that was partially closed over weekend because of a staff shortage brought on by the government shutdown.

Concourse G, the airport's least busy terminal, closed at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday because the airport didn't have enough Transportation Security Administration agents to staff the security checkpoint.

Because of the budget impasse over the president's plan for a border wall, TSA agents along with other federal employees -- such as FBI agents and air traffic controllers -- have been working without pay since Dec. 22.

"MIA's Concourse G will return to normal operations on Monday morning, with the TSA fully staffing the Concourse G checkpoint," said Greg Chin, a spokesman for the airport. "MIA and the TSA will continue to monitor checkpoint staffing levels and make adjustments as necessary."

The shutdown has entered its fourth week with no end in sight, making it the longest in U.S. history. Some TSA agents, who make about $35,000 a year, have been calling out sick to protest the shutdown.

TSA spokesman Michael Billelo said callouts were at 7.7 percent nationwide Sunday. They were at 3.2 percent a year ago.

"Most importantly, security standards remain uncompromised at our nation’s airports," Billelo said.

The TSA recently awarded its employees a $500 bonus as a stopgap measure.

The closure did not appear to cause a surge in long lines on Saturday, and passengers were mostly sympathetic to the plight of the unpaid workers.

"They are not getting paid so it makes sense that they don't want to work," said Alexander Smith, a passenger.

Meanwhile at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, all checkpoints were open this weekend and appeared to be operating normally.