FAA announces changes to controller scheduling
US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Randy Babbitt announced (17-Apr-2011) changes to air traffic controller scheduling practices that will allow controllers more time for rest between shifts (Daily Mail Reporter, 17-Apr-2011). “We expect controllers to come to work rested and ready to work and take personal responsibility for safety in the control towers. We have zero tolerance for sleeping on the job,” stated Mr LaHood. Controllers will get a nine-hour break instead of eight and there will be now more swapping of shifts that would result in a shorter break. The changes come after another controller at Miami Air Traffic Control Centre was suspended. On 18-Apr-2011, Mr Babbitt and NATCA President Paul Rinaldi will be in Atlanta, where they will begin their Call to Action on air traffic control safety and professionalism meetings. Over the course of this week, they will visit air traffic facilities in and around the following cities: Atlanta; Dallas- Ft Worth; Kansas City; Chicago; New York; and Washington DC. The two will also visit the air traffic control training academy at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Centre in Oklahoma City.
NACTA: "NATCA stands in full support of the FAA's immediate steps both today and last week to address the recent incidents, including last night's episode at Miami Air Route Traffic Control Centre. NATCA and the FAA are in agreement that fatigue and scheduling must be addressed and I applaud and thank Administrator Babbitt for taking quick and decisive action today to address a large part of the problem and implement immediate steps." NACTA President Paul Rinaldi. Source: Company Statement, 16-Apr-2011. [more - FAA] [more - NACTA]