In the ongoing saga of air traffic controller staffing, the FAA announced yesterday as part of its 10-year forecast that it is increasing controller hiring to better meet attrition and increasing system demand. The agency’s updated Air Traffic Control Workforce Plan now specifies the need for 15,000 new controllers over the next decade, up from previous plans for 12,500 new controllers over a similar period.
Air traffic controller
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.
Hoping to stave off a shortage of air traffic controllers caused by an expected wave of retirements, the FAA intends to hire 12,500 new controllers during the next 10 years and improve training so that candidates can become fully certified professional controllers more quickly.
As it searches for 12,500 new air traffic controllers, the FAA extended the eligibility period for college students with training in ATC to become controllers. Previously, graduates of the agency’s Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) could be hired on an expedited basis only within two years of graduation.
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 noted the agency’s latest FAA Administrator’s Fact Book reports that the overall total number of controllers dropped from 14,227 at the end of FY2005 to 14,206 in FY2006.
The UK’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) has introduced a permanent 250-knot speed restriction for standard instrument departures (SIDs) from London’s Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Northolt and London City airports. Aircraft are required to maintain and not exceed 250 knots below FL100.
Commercial pilots and air traffic controllers who have English as a second language, as well as native speakers of English, are needed to participate in a test designed to measure spoken-English ability common in ATC/pilot radio communications internationally.
In the late 1970s, Continental Airlines president Frank Lorenzo used a court of law to confront his pilots with an existing, although seldom used, negotiating technique, abrogating their contract when he was unable to secure an agreement through traditional collective bargaining. He quickly replaced his then striking workers with a non-union workforce willing to accept his management style and pay scale.
The DOT inspector general’s office will audit the FAA’s progress in implementing its controller workforce plan for hiring approximately 12,500 new controllers to replace those expected to leave over the next 10 years. The agency watchdog will evaluate the FAA’s progress and assess the effectiveness of other initiatives designed to increase controller productivity.
Hoping to stave off a shortage in air traffic controllers caused by an expected wave of retirements, the FAA will hire 12,500 controllers over the next 10 years and improve training so that candidates can become fully certified more quickly. More than 11,000 controllers are expected to leave the agency between now and 2014.