Weather Forecasters Oppose FAA Consolidation Plan

 - January 6, 2009, 11:40 AM

An FAA plan to consolidate all of the 84 National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters now co-located in the nation’s 21 ATC en route centers into two central forecasting locations has drawn spirited opposition from the National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO), which is claiming the move is unsafe. Although the Bush Administration proposal to meld all of the forecasters into two central forecasting stations in Kansas City and College Park, Md., has drawn fire from NWSEO and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the FAA contends that the move could save the agency approximately $4 million annually and would make the U.S. system more like Nav Canada’s successful model. Late last month the FAA gave the NWS two more months to recommend how to reduce the number of meteorologists at the en route centers, effectively delaying the decision until after the Obama Administration takes office. The FAA has suggested that technology and communications improvements eliminate the need for meteorologists at each center.