ATO Chief Krakowski Resigns from FAA

 - April 14, 2011, 10:45 AM

Hank Krakowski, head of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO), resigned today amid the fallout of not one but two incidents in as many weeks where the sole controller on duty at a tower late at night fell asleep. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt accepted his resignation. “Over the last few weeks we have seen examples of unprofessional conduct on the part of a few individuals that have rightly caused the traveling public to question our ability to ensure their safety,” Babbitt said. “This conduct must stop immediately. I am committed to maintaining the highest level of public confidence and that begins with strong leadership.” He thanked Krakowski for his service and tapped David Grizzle, the FAA’s chief counsel, to be the acting ATO chief operating officer while the search for a permanent replacement is conducted. Babbitt also pledged a “top-to-bottom review of the way we operate our ATC system.” Yesterday, the FAA chief announced that the agency is placing an additional air traffic controller on the midnight shift at 27 control towers around the country that are currently staffed with only one controller during that time. Babbitt and National Air Traffic Controllers Association president Paul Rinaldi are also launching a nationwide “Call to Action” on ATC safety and professionalism.