The FAA will be able to cope with the loss of almost half of its air traffic controller workforce over the next nine years if it can keep better track of attrition by locale and assess a new controller’s potential to certify at a certain ATC facility level, according to the Transportation Department’s office of inspector general (OIG).
Air traffic controller
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) is disputing the FAA’s claims that the agency exceeded air traffic controller staffing targets for the fiscal year that ended on September 30. The agency said it hired more than 1,800 controllers during the year, topping the FY06 year-end total by 256 controllers. As a result, the agency now employs 14,874 controllers.
The ink was scarcely dry on an FAA press release about successfully hiring new controllers when the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) said it begs to differ with the agency’s conclusions. On Friday, the FAA said it exceeded its air traffic controller staffing targets for the fiscal year that ended on September 30 by hiring more than 1,800 controllers during the year, topping the FY06 year-end total by 256 controllers.
David “Bruce” Johnson has been appointed director of the FAA’s Air Traffic Service (ATS) division, with Linda Schuessler as his deputy director. Johnson replaces Bill Peacock, who retired May 2 after 30 years with the FAA. Schuessler takes over from Jeff Griffith, who retired late last year.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) claims that a shortage of full-performance level (FPL) controllers at the Chicago Tracon–the nation’s third-busiest approach control facility–has brought the level of safety below an “acceptable” level, and the union has asked the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to intervene.
In 1981 President Reagan fired virtually all aircraft traffic controllers and banned them from reapplying for controller jobs after their union, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Association (Patco), convinced them to strike. While nearly 800 Patco controllers have been re-hired since President Clinton lifted the ban in 1993, “thousands” of others have not been hired because of their age, Patco said.
The head of the 14,000-member air traffic controllers union said last month that the FAA is trumpeting the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) to mask poor morale and severe staffing shortages among its controller workforce.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) has teamed with a New Zealand-based company to provide the international aviation community with aviation English training to meet a new International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirement that identifies English as the official, recognized language of aviation.
A Brazilian public prosecutor has recommended that a federal judge indict four air traffic controllers and the two American pilots involved in the midair collision between an Embraer Legacy operated by ExcelAire and a Boeing 737 operated by Gol over the Amazon jungle last September. The prosecutor is requesting that one of the controllers, Jomarcelo Fernandes dos Santos, be charged with intentional manslaughter.
The NTSB issued a series of recommendations this week asking the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association to tighten regulations and procedures pertaining to controller vigilance, training and fatigue.