Missoula County Coverage

Feb 22, 2013 9:51 PM by Cristy Aranguiz - KPAX News

Longer lines possbile at Missoula Airport after sequestration

MISSOULA - Airports throughout the nation could be hit by a loss of federal dollars with impending sequestration, including Missoula International.

Airport Director Cris Jensen said his biggest concern is that right now he doesn't have that much information on exactly how these budget cuts will affect the airport here, but he knows if the cuts happen, there definitely will be consequences for travelers.

The air traffic control facility will most likely be affected, as well as TSA provided security, but just how drastic those effects may be have not been discussed with airport officials at this time.

Airport administrators have met several times to discuss what little information has been given; they maintain that traveler safety is of the utmost importance.

"We have TSA here at the airport, we need them to process passengers to make sure our flights are secure," Jensen said. "If there is a reduction in personnel for example, you know, it might mean longer wait times for people. That concerns us, we want people to have the best possible experience, and the safest and most secure experience, and those are things that could suffer."

Jensen also emphasized that security will not be compromised, but travelers will need to arrive even earlier to ensure everyone is checked thoroughly.

He added that since the airport is privately funded, very few airport employees would be affected. The cuts will mostly be felt by government workers, such as those at the TSA and FAA.

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