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NATCA Reacts to DOT IG Report on Understaffing at FAA Facilities - (3/21/2007)


Here is a link to the Department of Transportation Inspector General’s review of staffing at FAA combined radar approach control and tower with radar facilities:

http://www.oig.dot.gov/library-item/4051


The following is National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Patrick Forrey’s reaction to the report:
 

“The IG’s report very clearly confirms that it took a disaster for the FAA to get around to making sure its facilities were complying with its own order on proper staffing. The urgency with which the Agency acted after the crash to ensure proper midnight shift staffing should have been done immediately after the Raleigh-Durham incident in 2005. That was the time to act. Not after people lost their lives. That’s too late. 

“This is why NATCA is so firmly committed to speaking out against the terribly unsafe staffing levels in place today at facilities all over the country, especially considering the FAA has just announced a new controller workforce plan that is three years too late. Controllers are leaving at the rate of three per day. The Agency has thrown out longstanding safe staffing levels at every facility and replaced them with a manufactured “range” of budget-based staffing levels that slashes between nine and 26 percent of the amount of controllers needed to properly staff towers and radar facilities.  

“This IG report should be a wakeup call to the Agency to re-evaluate its new staffing plan and increase its new staffing standards, not cut them down to grossly negligent levels.  

“It was also disturbing to read that the IG found that 11.1 percent of the total midnight shifts it reviewed were staffed with only one controller before the Comair crash. That meant the Agency could only guarantee the safety of the system on these shifts 89 percent of the time. In our profession, an 89 percent proficiency rate not only gets you fired, it unnecessarily puts safety at risk.”


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