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‘Fix this mess’: Schumer demands immediate action from TSA as staffing shortages cause chaos at JFK Airport

Aug. 18, 2023 By Bill Parry

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is demanding answers immediate action from the Transportation Security Administration to alleviate chronic staffing issues that have tormented air travelers at JFK Airport this month.

Schumer released a public letter on Aug. 17  following a call with TSA administrators amid chaos he called unacceptable after social media documented people standing and waiting on lines for hours at JFK in recent weeks with many missing their flights due to staffing issues at security checkpoints. Schumer said that he had allocated funding to the TSA to deliver sufficient staff to New York metropolitan area airports and demanded TSA to “fix this mess” before the Labor Day travel rush that will exacerbate the situation at JFK.

Schumer told the TSA that he has appropriated the necessary funding to ensure staffing shortages don’t affect travelers at metropolitan airports.File photo by Gabriele Holtermann

“Airports across New York City cannot be known for hours-long TSA lines,” Schumer fumed. “It’s unacceptable, frustrating to travelers, and ends up costing them precious time and even money. The recent lines have been so bad that people are standing for hours. The TSA must staff JFK and all metro airports to meet demand. I’ve worked to allocate federal funds needed to meet the mark here and now they must deliver.”

Schumer fired off a letter to TSA Administrator David Peksoke on Thursday urging his immediate attention to the staffing issue at JFK.

“[On. Aug. 16], passengers waited for hours and many missed their flights due to the lack of officers at security check points. That is not acceptable for one of the busiest airports in the nation, on a business-as-usual Wednesday,” Schumer wrote. “What is the answer for yesterday’s travel fiasco and how can it be prevented in the future? Moreover, what is the level of passenger travel you are expecting for the upcoming Labor Day travel weekend? What steps are you taking to prepare for any high travel volumes?”

Schumer said travelers are at wits’ end with the TSA fiasco that has plagued travelers at JFK in recent weeks.

“Yesterday, and for many days this month, the TSA line at JFK packed people in like sardines for hours,” Schumer said. “Hours of waiting in security lines at NYC airports is unacceptable, especially given the funds are there to avoid this kind of thing.”

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