As the U.S. government shutdown turned three weeks old, the odds of tangible and lasting effects on the travel community—disrupted trips or, even worse, security risks—are getting higher.
In the initial weeks, the impact on corporate travel was more on the level of a "hassle," such as reported longer lines at some security checkpoints, said Bruce McIndoe, founder and president of global travel risk management firm WorldAware, formerly iJet. If the shutdown persists for a few more weeks, however, there is "an increasing threat to the system" as Transportation Security Administration personnel, air traffic controllers, inspectors and other critical members of the aviation industry don't receive paychecks, he said. "You'll have individuals peel off and look for other opportunities for income, and you'll start having holes," McIndoe said. "People will be pushed to work overtime, which creates more stress. In the unlikely event that this thing moves into months, then you just had a rapidly escalating risk of a catastrophic failure in the system."