GAO Tells House Subcommittee That FAA Has Many Challenges Ahead of it In Its Effort to Hire Air Traffic Controllers

he Government Accountability Office published the testimony that Dr. Gerald Dilllingham gave to the  House Subcommittee on Aviation regarding the FAA’s efforts to hire and train more air traffic controllers.

The Dr. Dillingham’s testimony, entitled “FAA’s Efforts to Hire, Staff and Train More Air Traffic Controllers Are Generally on Track, but Challenges Remain” addresses the FAA’s efforts to hire and train nearly 17,000 controllers over the next decade to replace over 15,000 current controllers, most of whom will be retiring. The challenge to the FAA is assuring that the Air Traffic Control facilities are adequately staffed with a proper mix of new trainees and fully certified controllers.  Dr. Dillingham, as well as the NTSB, strongly believe that having controllers work more overtime will lead to serious consequences.

Moreover, this massive hiring effort will occur as FAA begins to implement the next generation air transportation system (NextGen), which will integrate new technologies and procedures into air traffic operations and fundamentally change the role of air traffic controllers from controlling individual aircraft to managing air traffic flow. Hence, FAA will need to train experienced controllers to use the new technologies at the same time that it hires and trains new controllers to operate both the current and the new technologies.

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