5 of 5 - Safety & Security Week
The bad news is that air-traffic controllers are leaving in huge numbers. These retiring controllers are leaving at the fastest rate since President Ronald Reagan fired more than 12,000 striking controllers in 1981.
To reduce the bleeding the FAA is hiring hundreds of trainees and offering bonuses of as much as $24,000 to keep controllers in their current jobs. The FAA also says that air travel has never been safer. In January 2008 we had around 11,000 controllers, a loss from the 2,801 6 years ago.
The union that represents the controllers, NATCA, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, has declared staffing emergencies at several major US airports. Union statement. It appears much of this is due to a contract dispute that has lasted since 2006.