Air Traffic Controllers Decry Hiring Shortage – Request Hearings

NATC Demands Congressional Hearings on Shortfall in Hiring

Washington – The National Air Traffic Association has called for a Congressional review of continued and chronic shortfalls in hiring. Current hiring levels for new air traffic safety controllers is far below approved Federal staffing goals. The NATC says the number of controllers has declined by more than ten percent since the end of 2011.


FAA Hiring Short Five Years

The catalyst causing concern to rise within the NATC membership is the recent revelation that data from Federal Aviation Administration hiring goals for the year 2015 will not be fulfilled. According to the NATC, this will be the fifth consecutive year the FAA hiring goals have come up short. Currently, the number of operationally ready and certified air traffic safety controllers is at the lowest level in three decades.


Air Traffic Controllers Forced to Work 6 Days Per Week

Serious shortages exist at every TRACON point in the continental United States. On average each control center is 25% short of the staff called for and sorely needed. To meet air traffic safety standards most traffic control centers are forced to schedule each air traffic controller for work six days per week. This results in overtime pay, while budget levels are rarely adjusted to account for the continued expense. That situation causes maintenance and equipment upgrades to fall behind, further putting safe operation of the national air traffic control system at risk.


Air Traffic Control System Still Safe But In Danger

The head of the NATC,  President Paul Rinaldi says the association is calling now for the hearings while the air traffic control system is still operating safely and is not at risk. With fully 30 percent of the current controllers eligible to retire anytime they choose, the situation is now considered critical even though it is still operating safely without increased incidents of air travel delay.  If a repeat of the Federal Budgeting problems which occurred in 2013 are repeated, the NATC cannot guarantee the TRAFCON system will be able to continue safe operation without periods of extended delay.

Air Traffic Controller Staffing Data: 2011-2015

By the Numbers: Air Traffic Controller Staffing Crisis at Major Hubs



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