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Controller issues trigger shake-up in FAA leadership

A spate of recent incidents involving US air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job has resulted in the head of FAA's air traffic control organisation (ATO) resigning.

"Hank Krakowski has submitted his resignation and I have accepted it," says FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. FAA chief counsel David Grizzle is now acting ATO chief operating officer.

The incidents began with a widely-reported event at Washington National airport in which flights tried to contact a sleeping controller for roughly 15 minutes while trying to land at the facility. Now FAA is investigating two other incidents of unresponsive controllers that emerged as it was reviewing staffing levels and controller behaviour after the National incident.

On 13 April a controller reportedly fell asleep at Reno-Tahoe International airport while a medical flight carrying an ill patient was attempting to land.

"This conduct must stop immediately," says Babbitt. "We are conducting a top to bottom review of the way we operate our air traffic control system."

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