For the second time this year, a major government study finds the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is putting airline passenger safety at risk because of its refusal to negotiate a contract with air traffic controllers.
Record numbers of controllers are leaving the towers and retiring, rather than endure the FAA’s unilaterally imposed work rules. Meanwhile, the remaining controllers are forced to work mandatory overtime to make up for the staff shortages.
This week, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report points to overworked and fatigued controllers as one reason air travelers face a high risk of a catastrophic runway collision between planes on the ground and those landing or taking off. Between September 2006 and September 2007, there were 370 such incidents, nearly matching 2001′s peak year when 407 incursions were reported.