How about re-regulating the airlines altogether?
Air-traffic controllers are leaving their jobs at the fastest rate since President Reagan fired more than 12,000 striking controllers 27 years ago, spurring a rancorous debate over the safety of commercial aviation. But for fliers, the turnover is more likely to affect when their flight arrives than whether it gets there safely.
Oh really? Says who?
In recent months, fully certified controllers have been retiring in droves. Some of this was expected since many controllers hired after the 1981 air-traffic controller strike are becoming eligible to retire. But the retirement surge has accelerated beyond the Federal Aviation Administration’s projections because of a bitter labor feud that has dragged on since 2006.
In January, there were roughly 11,000 fully certified controllers, marking the lowest level in more than a decade. In September 2002, the FAA employed 12,801 fully certified controllers.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, which represents the FAA’s work force of roughly 15,000 fully and partially certified controllers, has declared staffing emergencies at high-intensity facilities in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Southern California. It calls the loss of so many veteran controllers a “growing crisis” amid surging traffic volumes and a big, hidden factor behind the persistent delays plaguing air travel.
The FAA acknowledges that shortages in the control tower can cause delays
Pilots resigning/retiring, not enough mechanics to service the planes, and now, not enough air traffic controllers? What is going to take to restore trust in airlines/airports? Is there going to be a huge catastrophe before any politician decides to take action?
Union officials also contend the shortage of fully trained controllers — those who have been trained to perform all the major control functions — is increasing the odds that a fatigued controller working overtime will make a catastrophic mistake.
“It’s amazing that it hasn’t happened so far,” Mr. Ramsden said. “The staffing issue has a direct impact on the safety of the public. It has to.”