JEREMY HOBSON: The head of the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic division has resigned after the storm over controllers sleeping on the job.
As Marketplace’s Janet Babin reports new air traffic controllers are going to be hard to find even in this economy.
JANET BABIN: It may be news to us that air traffic controllers sleep on the job. But industry insiders say it happens all the time.
MICHAEL BOYD: We have an endemic system where the graveyard shift is the sleep shift across the nation.
That’s aviation consultant Michael Boyd. Controllers often work double shifts, and a mix of days and nights. The FAA has ordered air traffic towers to put two controllers on the overnight shift. But finding enough staff could be a challenge.
Aviation consultant Michael Goldfarb says a wave of controllers is retiring, and there aren’t enough new recruits:
MICHAEL GOLDFARB: It takes three to four years to get a competent controller trained. And the FAA is suffering from an attrition of controllers and from a lack of adequate emphasis on fully staffing the facilities.
The agency says it wants to hire thousands of new controllers by 2017.
I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.
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