Closed: A park ranger secured a road at the entrance to Mount Rushmore National Memorial yesterday in Keystone, South Dakota. Parks nationwide were closed due to the shutdown of the US Government. *AFP photo
Closed: A park ranger secured a road at the entrance to Mount Rushmore National Memorial yesterday in Keystone, South Dakota. Parks nationwide were closed due to the shutdown of the US Government. *AFP photo

Islanders flying to the States need not be overly concerned about the US Government shutdown, although they might face some delays, says airport boss Aaron Adderley.

Yesterday across the US, federal buildings and services, museums, monuments and national parks closed down as more than 700,000 federal workers were sent home.

The shutdown is a result of the US Congress failing to agree a budget by October 1, and is the first closure of government services in almost two decades, bringing chaos across the nation.

Air Traffic Controllers

Air travel however, will continue as officers and agents at US borders and ports are exempt from the closure.

The US Government is still paying its essential workers, so Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) have all been told to report to work.

It means passengers from Bermuda may still have a smooth ride into the US, but they should expect delays if transferring from another international hub or switching to a domestic flight, according to airport boss Aaron Adderley.

Mr Adderley, general manager of LF Wade International Airport, told us yesterday: “Locally, we haven’t seen too much of an effect, if any. The brunt of the effects will be felt domestically within the US.”

In Bermuda, air passengers to the US get pre-clearance by CBP staff at our airport.

Mr Adderley said: “All of those folk have reported for work and so we don’t anticipate any delays associated with the shutdown.

“In Bermuda we are in the fall season now and the summer schedules have ended, so it’s not a peak period for us.  This means the US Customs and Border Protection can cover the load locally, so we don’t expect any significant effects.

“Also, we don’t have TSA employees in Bermuda; we have Bermudian workers who adhere to TSA standards, so there will be no disruption from that standpoint. They are employees of the Bermuda Security Group.

“If there are any delays for Bermuda passengers it may likely be felt at airports travelling on domestic flights in and around the US, such as at security screening checkpoints.

No overtime pay 

“Or, if you are entering the US from another country and have to go through Customs and Border Protection again. But 87 per cent of TSA staff have reported to work today in the US, and will continue to work.

“The majority of US Customs and Border Protection personnel have also reported to work. But they won’t have overtime pay, so during peak periods there may be delays as they won’t have the ability to bring in extra staff. 

“So, there could potentially be delays at other airports in the US.”