Should the ongoing government shutdown continue up to and through the Super Bowl in Atlanta on February 3, there are concerns the game could be impacted.
Public officials are worried the lack of TSA workers at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport could make it very difficult for fans to get home on the Monday after the big game.
One of the busiest in the world, the airport typically screens about 60,000 passengers a day before they depart. On “Mass Exodus Monday” after the game, about 110,000 passengers are expected to be departing from the airport.
Wait times are already bad at the airport – sometimes 90 to 180 minutes – and they could potentially double given the number of expected passengers.
To make matters worse, the workforce that will be on hand handling traffic at the airport – which is expected to include an additional 1,500 flights during Super Bowl week – may be ill-prepared as the National Air Traffic Controllers Association was forced to end planning sessions due to the shutdown.
“When we work on something as big as the Super Bowl — the biggest spectator event in the country — it takes us a lot of time to plan on extra airplanes and traffic,”National Air Traffic Controllers Association rep Dan McCabe told NBC News. “We’re going to keep the event safe, but we want it to be an enjoyable event for everybody. It’s frustrating that I know it won’t be as good as it could be.”