If the government shuts down in less than two weeks, will the Punta Gorda Airport have enough screening agents to protect travelers? WINK News reported TSA is Keeping the airport operating while its private security contractor is in a legal bind involving two companies. So, TSA agents from across the state are staying in hotels to report to the Charlotte County airport.
WINK News was told Monday, TSA agents will continue to report to Punta Gorda Airport without pay if the government shuts down again.
“We would be in quite a bind if airports were closed, and we couldn’t travel freely,” traveler Sandy Perrotta said.
Traveler Rod Jones thinks it’s good the federal workers are at the airport.
“I think they need to keep TSA in the local airports,” Jones said.
Yet at PGD, it’s not normal for the federal airport workers to operate this facility. The airport contracts security screening services to private companies. Two companies are in court battling for that contract.
“That’s capitalism as far as I’m concerned,” Perrotta said.
Until the litigations end between the two companies, TSA agents will spend time away from home and work at PGD.
“I just think they need to come to an agreement to keep TSA on full-time,” Jones said.
Some of the agents are from Orlando, Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
“We benefit from it,” Perrott said. “It’s unfortunate that we have to do it, but it’s necessary.”
Jones wants to see the TSA agents compensated.
“I think the TSA is too important to the small communities as well as the nation to not have them paid,” Jones said.
Meanwhile, the private security employees aren’t working at all due to the legal battle their employers are fighting. WINK News contacted the private companies to ask about their expectations for when their court dispute could end but did not receive a reply in time for story publication.
“I think they need to come to an agreement that would support their pay,” Jones said.