For Immediate Release

Release No. AOC 06-07
March 7, 2007
Contact: Diane Spitaliere or Laura Brown
Phone: (202) 267-3883

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today released its updated plan to hire air traffic controllers over the next 10 years. The plan provides a range of authorized controller staffing numbers for each of the FAA’s 314 staffed facilities across the country, giving the agency greater flexibility to match the number of controllers with traffic volume and workload.

The FAA will hire and train more than 15,000 controllers over the next decade, as more controllers become eligible for retirement. The updated plan calls for hiring nearly 1,400 new controllers this year, a net increase of 189 controllers over 2006 hiring levels.

In developing the individual staffing ranges, the FAA considered past performance, the performance of similar air traffic facilities, productivity improvements, industrial engineering staffing standards, and recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences, as well as input from field managers, overtime trends, time-on position data and expected retirements. The staffing requirements also take into account the unique facility requirements, such as temporary airport construction, seasonal activity and the number of controllers currently in training.

“Air traffic levels are very dynamic,” said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. “It is critical that we staff facilities based on actual and forecasted traffic demands. We are confident that the new controller hires will be able to meet the needs of the future.”

In fiscal year 2006, the FAA hired 1,116 new controllers, increasing the total number of controllers on board to 14,618. Increased capacity at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City and at air traffic facility simulators will lower the average training time from three years to two years at terminal facilities and from five years to three years for en route facilities.

The FAA also has made significant progress in effectively staffing facilities by using improved scheduling practices, new automated tools, and better management of leave.