ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - A slow Thursday night at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport will give way to an extremely busy series of nights next week. Thousands are expected to travel through the world’s busiest airport as Atlanta plays host to Super Bowl LIII.
“Monday, we'll start to see a slow ramp-up of the traffic,” says Dan McCabe with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. “Not just traffic going into Hartsfield-Jackson, but DeKalb, Peachtree, Fulton County, McCollum, Lawrenceville, all those other airports, too.”
McCabe represents some 400 air traffic controllers. He says the government shut down is putting stress on members.
“The problem is there's no light at the end of the tunnel, There's no timeline, no one knows how long this is going to last so it's kind of hard to plan for,” McCabe says.
Friday marks the 35th day of the shutdown. It will also be the second pay period workers won't receive a paycheck. To make up for losses, some have taken on second jobs or are driving for ride-sharing companies.
McCabe is concerned about what would happen if workers not operating on their “A” game during the busy travel week creates a backup.
“What if we run out of parking at DeKalb-Peachtree or at Fulton County? These aren't airports that are used to having that many airplanes come in. If you run out of parking and you're not paying attention to what's going on, the next thing you know you're slowing down airplanes over Houston.”
McCabe says air traffic controllers are frustrated.
“At what point are these people gonna just quit or stop coming to work because they got another job.”