The partial government shutdown has brought an unprecedented, incalculable risk to the airline industry, according to a statement released Wednesday by unions representing air traffic controllers, flight attendants and pilots.
NBC News reported that the groups reported a growing concern for all those involved in air travel, including passengers: "In our risk averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented."
Nearly 50,000 airport security workers have been told to report to their jobs despite not being paid during the 34-day shutdown because they are considered "essential."
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The unions said that air traffic control facilities are at 30-year staffing lows, leaving controllers working 10-hour days and six-day work weeks, while security checkpoints are closing and safety inspections are understaffed.