The United States government said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) needs more air traffic controllers as more and more Americans take to the skies.
According to Reuters.com, the Senate Commerce aviation subcommittee chairperson Senator Tammy Duckworth said the country is facing a shortage of pilots, maintenance workers and air traffic controllers.
The Department of Transportation revealed plans to hire 1,500 air traffic controllers this year and another 1,800 in 2024. Senator Duckworth said FAA officials are “deciding how many air traffic controllers to employ by its budget versus the actual need in terms of the traffic demands.”
In response, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has continued its previous pleas to the federal government to boost staffing, calling for more funding to offset disruptions and avoid the dangerous near-miss situations reported recently.
“We have a staffing issue,” NATCA President Rich Santa told Reuters. “It’s time for us to accurately and adequately staff the facilities.”
In addition, Senate Commerce Committee chair Senator Maria Cantwell issued a statement on Wednesday to the FAA to work on the recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Some of the first changes being implemented include requiring cockpit voice recorders to capture 25 hours of information and establishing a government group to optimize the data gathered by airplanes.
Senator Cantwell also shared her belief that airports with passenger airline services across the U.S. must have ground improvement safety systems to prevent runway incursions.
For the latest travel news, updates and deals, subscribe to the daily TravelPulse newsletter.