Almost $10 million has been approved by the US Congress for the hiring and training of new air traffic controllers. The cash could create around 200 ATC jobs in the USA.

The money, given to the Federal Aviation Administration to replenish its ageing population of air traffic controllers, is less than the $14 million requested by ATC trade bodies such as the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), but will mean around 200 job vacancies for ATCs across the USA.

NATCA president John Carr says: "In fiscal year 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration lost more than 500 air traffic controllers, but only hired 13 because it lacked funding. That simply is not acceptable to the flying public. Fewer eyes on the skies mean delays, congestion and safety concerns.

"The $9.5 million approved by Congress is a much needed down payment on a large problem. While it is good news that Congress has given the FAA new money to hire and train controllers, considerably more resources will be needed if FAA is to address the serious staffing crisis facing our nation," he adds.

"Many of our critical air traffic control facilities across the country are already short-staffed. And the FAA administrator has said that we are looking at a 'tsunami wave of retirements'."


Source: Flight International