Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Airlines claim that the US must increase employees for air traffic control


WASHINGTON: Tuesday, US airlines expressed increasing dissatisfaction with the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) staffing shortages in air traffic control (ATC), which have slowed flights and necessitated the extension of waivers on minimum flight requirements.

"The system can't cope with the number of flights today," JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference on Tuesday. "In the short to medium term, we have to reduce flights in very impacted airports." We are selling flights that we are aware we will not be able to operate due to difficulties with ATC.

Carriers have confronted flight troubles after an extraordinary US summer travel season and deliberate cut flights in light of air traffic deficiencies. They need to add more trips to address interest.

Joined Carriers Chief Scott Kirby, who brutally censured the FAA this late spring, said at the gathering that slacking air traffic staffing levels "was twenty years in building and it will require a very long time to get it tended to."

The FAA declined to remark Tuesday past an explanation it gave in August that said it met its objective of recruiting 1,500 regulators in the year finishing Sept. 30. However, staffing goals remain approximately 3,000 controllers behind.

Hayes stated that "it would still take us five years to catch up" if the FAA doubled controller hiring, which it cannot do.

The FAA has around 2,600 regulators in preparing. The Transportation Office is looking for $117 million to employ another 1,800 one year from now.

The FAA temporarily reduced minimum flight requirements at congested New York City-area airports and Washington National Airport until October 28, citing staffing issues.

In June, a government watchdog stated that air traffic control facilities face significant staffing issues, posing risks to operations.

This year, the United States has seen a number of aviation near-misses, some of which could have been catastrophic due to apparent controller errors.

The number of certified controllers employed by the FAA stands at 10,700, up slightly from 10,578 in 2022, about the same as 2021, and down 10% from 2012. Of the FAA's 13,300 regulators, 26% are learners. At a few offices, regulators are working obligatory extra time and six-day work a long time to cover deficiencies.

The previous summer, there were 41,498 departures from New York air terminals in which ATC staffing was a contributing element in delays. New York Terminal Radar Approach Control staffing was at 54%, the report said.

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