Controllers Claim Losses Exceeding New Hires
Although the FAA needs to hire 11,800 new controllers through Fiscal Year 2015 to replace retirees and other vacancies, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) noted the agency’s own FAA Administrator’s Fact Book (a quarterly publication) reports that the overall total number of controllers dropped from 14,227 at the end of FY2005 to 14,206 in FY2006. According to Natca, veteran controllers have been retiring at a rate of more than three per day since the start of FY2007, which began on October 1. At the current pace, the number of FY2007 retirements would clear the FAA’s projection of 643 by Memorial Day at the latest, the union said. This follows a 2006 fiscal year in which 734 controllers retired. By FY2015, approximately 70 percent of the FAA’s nearly 15,000-controller current workforce will become eligible to retire.