FAA Facing More Obstacles in Hiring Controllers
To combat the high number of projected retirements over the next few years the FAA is planning to hire 11,700 new air traffic controllers reports the Washington Times. Hiring numbers have slowed over the past few years due to budget conflicts and the federal sequestration. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) believes that extra money for staffing can be found by cutting the overnight shifts on 72 air traffic facilities that don't have the overnight traffic to justify the labor.
But hiring controllers faces a new problem. The GAO reports that it is taking longer to fully train these new controllers. As reported by the GAO, in fiscal year 2009 the average training time was 1.9 years. In fiscal year 2012 the average was 2.68 years, showing an increase of 41%. Over the past two years the FAA has started 20 different projects to expedite the training process, but none of the initiatives have been finished.