For Immediate Release

July 21, 2004
Contact: Tony Molinaro
Phone: (847) 294-7427

MINNEAPOLIS — In preparation for an increase in air traffic controller retirements beginning in 2007, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is taking action now to ensure appropriate staffing at facilities throughout its New England region and across the country.

“We operate the world’s safest, most efficient aviation system, and we have plans in place right now to make sure we have the right people, in the right place, at the right time to keep it that way,” said Dawn Holst, FAA Air Traffic Manager at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. “The FAA will be ready to meet its future staffing needs through new hires, more efficient training and greater productivity.”

Later this year, the FAA will deliver to Congress a detailed air traffic controller staffing plan that matches predicted retirements, future staffing requirements and training needs by each of its more than 300 air traffic control facilities. In determining the right number of controllers to hire and train, the FAA will review carefully changing trends in air traffic volume and growth as well as recent productivity and efficiency gains through advanced air traffic technology and simulator training.

At the Minneapolis En route Center facility, there is a staff of 308 air traffic controllers. The authorized staffing levels developed by the FAA call for 320 controllers, a variance of less than four percent. At the Minneapolis air traffic control tower and the TRACON facility, there is a total staff of 110 air traffic controllers. The authorized staffing levels developed by the FAA call for 113 controllers, a variance of less than three percent.

As part of a national effort, the FAA’s air traffic facilities are:

  • Putting in place new financial management tools, cost reporting and labor distribution to pinpoint where resources are needed. These systems are designed to document gains made in reducing operating costs and increasing productivity to make better use of limited resources.
  • Right-sizing its facilities to make sure staffing matches the traffic and workload. The region is working to move people from over-staffed facilities to those needing more controllers.
  • Streamlining controller training based on staffing needs and the complexity of a facility. The FAA is working with labor to develop more efficient training programs that would also used increased simulator training—similar to the training pilots receive.