Aviation safety inspector speaks out, as government shutdown drags on

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Concerns are rising at airports, as the government shutdown may start hitting the wallets of TSA workers. Those workers are not being paid, and at some airports, sick calls have snarled security lines.

The largest airline pilots union, the Airline Pilots Association, says there could also be safety concerns because of this shut down. The group has sent a letter to President Donald Trump, urging him to end the shut down for what they called "potential safety issues" due a lack of personnel. They said "when any of their responsibilities are placed on pause due to a shutdown, there are safety, security and efficiency gaps that immediately emerge."

Now, some individuals are echoing those sentiments.

"It's not that we're here to catch people breaking the law. We're here to provide an extra set of eyes, a professional opinion to help out," said the man, who wants us to protect his identity. He is a furloughed government employee that works as an international aviation safety inspector.

"These planes are still taking off and landing in these countries, but there's no one on the job?" asked FOX 10's Ty Brennan.

"No one's on the job," said the man.

"Whose doing the checks?" asked Brennan.

'No one," said the man. "No one is doing the job."

With the shutdown, TSA agents and air traffic controllers are currently working without pay. An air traffic control expert at Embry-Riddle says he doens't foresee any issues in the short term, but if the shutdown were to continue, problems could develop.

"Their job is incredibly stressful anyway," said Brent Spencer, professor for air traffic control at Embry-Riddle. "Now you add to the 'how am I going to pay this bills this week?' I'm not getting a paycheck,' and that stress can build up in a person, and it makes it harder to do a good job."

Many hoping the shutdown doesn't have any long-lasting implications.

"The last inspection I was on was a three-day inspection in a foreign country, and we found 31 findings -- they knew we were coming. 31 findings. I don't know how many there will be, now that no one's watching them," said the man, who went on to say he's now looking at other opportunities in other countries.

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