The aviation industry has warned President Donald Trump of the damages caused to travel due to the partial government shutdown.
A letter sent to Trump was signed by 34 aviation groups, outlining 11 areas of major concern affecting air travel.
Among those affected by the shutdown include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which employs air traffic controllers, maintenance personnel, and airline security staff.
These employees have been forced to work without receiving pay, which has conicided with to an influx of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) staff calling in sick to work.
"This partial shutdown has already inflicted real damage to our nation's aviation system and the impacts will only worsen over time,'' the letter read. "We urge you to act quickly to resolve these issues.''
Outline by the letter are the following issues:
"Most of the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) staff who certify the safety of aircraft have been furloughed and safety reporting and oversight systems have been suspended. This is critical to resolving identified issues. The continued shutdown of these certification functions will also delay some companies in bringing their products to market and hurt deliveries and exports. We understand and appreciate that the FAA is committed to bringing all safety inspectors back to work, but it is not currently clear whether they will be able to perform key functions impacting operations."
Longer wait times at airports
"With fewer TSOs (Transportation Security Officers) available to screen travelers at security checkpoints, wait times will grow and larger crowds will be forced to congregate in public areas of airports. In some cases, checkpoints may have to be closed as a result of the shutdown. Some airports are already struggling to keep up with a record number of travelers, and reduced staffing levels will exacerbate problems in the near-term and into the busy spring and summer travel seasons. Reduced staffing levels are of particular concern at airports that have high-profile events ongoing or scheduled to occur in the near future, including major trade shows and sporting events."
Air traffic control
"Training of air traffic controllers has been suspended, slowing the arrival of new workers in a system that is already at a 30-year low. As the shutdown persists, excepted air traffic controllers and workers in technical operations, who operate and maintain safety-critical navigational aids, surveillance, and communications equipment, are performing highly skilled and safety-critical services without pay. Moreover, the shutdown strains resources that are available for maintaining and servicing these critical ATC systems."
"The FAA is unable to issue new student pilot certificates, which has halted training for countless prospective pilots. Similarly, the FAA is unable to issue certifications required for current pilots to upgrade their position meaning these pilots will experience a delay in their planned upgrades until the shutdown is resolved. The FAA is not processing mandated pilot background checks (PRIA). These are critical for continuity of operations - without these PRIA authorizations, new hire pilot training is at a standstill."
Pilots lobby Trump
The Air Line Pilots Association, which represents more than 61,000 pilots from 35 US and Canadian airlines, also penned a letter of Trump outlining its concerns, the Daily Mail reports.
Captain Joe DePete, the President of the union, urged the president to end the shutdown and said it was threatening "the safety, security, and efficiency of our national airspace system".
DePete wrote that the stress of working without a paycheck was placing undue stress on employees.
"They are dutifully providing safety of life services while facing increasingly difficult financial pressures to provide for those dependent on their paycheck.
"The pressure these civil servants are facing at home should not be ignored.
"At some point, these dedicated federal employees will encounter personal financial damages that will take a long time from which to recover, if at all."
The letter also outlined security concerns that had arisen during the partial government shutdown.
"The government agency partners in the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have dual roles," he wrote.
"They are both regulators and service providers.
"When any of their responsibilities are placed on pause due to a shutdown there are safety, security and efficiency gaps that immediately emerge."
The shutdown, which began on December 22, is currently the second-longest in US history. If it continues into the weekend, it will become the longest.
A result of the impasse between President Trump and congressional Democrats over funding for a barrier on the US-Mexico border, it has affected around 25 per cent of the federal government with an impact on 800,000 federal workers.
Trump has threatened that the shutdown could last for "months or even years," the Guardian reports.