DENVER — Four weeks into the partial government shut down and growing concerns about air traffic controllers and flight safety are starting to rise. But what is it like, right now, at DIA?
When it comes to traveling by air, a vital link in the chain is the air traffic controller.
The men and women in that crucial role oversee the operations at Denver International Airport, where 160,000 passengers jump on or get off 1,600 flights.
The partial government shutdown is affecting airports across the country but a spokesperson for DIA said that, so far, Denver has been spared. “Throughout the shutdown airport operations at the airport have been normal,” said Emily Williams.
Colorado Democrats held a news conference yesterday at DIA, with words of warning: “It’s getting to the point of the safety of every single passenger who’s flying through this airport,” said Rep. Diana DeGette.
Not quite yet, according to DIA, ”You know, I can tell you that airport operations are normal. And I don’t have a crystal ball but I don’t know what’s going to happen but we don’t anticipate changes to airport operations here in Denver,” said Williams.
Air traffic controller‘s union representative Josh Waggener spoke as well, saying “Everybody knows that work stress is not fun, and having to worry about health and wellness of your family also not the stress you would not like to have.”
So how is all this trickling down to passengers? A few passengers we spoke with said the issue is on their minds.
“I am very concerned about my sister’s safety because I don’t trust that the air traffic controller‘s are in place,” said one traveler. “It’s absolutely not fair, it’s not fair to us, as the public to risk what we may risk without these important workers doing their jobs,” said another.
Nobody has a crystal ball and what the future holds is anybody’s guess. But for now, “We really appreciate the folks who are showing up to work and making sure that airport is safe people are getting to where they need to go,” said Williams.