(AmericanProsperity.com) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on December 19 that it’s planning to create a panel to check into the potential risks posed by physical and mental exhaustion among air traffic controllers. The agency noted that many of these tend to work round-the-clock schedules, which eventually affect their health.
In a statement, the FAA’s spokesperson Jeannie Shiffer said that the agency will announce more details about the panel over the next few days. Meanwhile, FAA administrator Michael Whitaker said in a press conference that the agency is taking the “fatigue” issue as seriously as it can, and pointed out the problem needs to be fixed as soon as possible. He also told reporters at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport that the FAA will launch a group that will examine fatigue among every traffic controller to determine if there’s any risk. Once these risks are identified, Whitaker said that the agency will “mitigate” them.
The FAA announced the creation of the panel after a New York Times investigation that revealed that a shortage of air traffic controllers across the country has resulted in a demoralized and exhausted workforce. The liberal newspaper said in its article that the problem was resulting in “dangerous mistakes” that put the lives of many at risk. The Times also pointed out that almost every single air traffic control site in the country was understaffed, which forced many controllers to work 10 hours per day and six days per week.
In the press conference, Whitaker told reporters that the agency was executing its biggest efforts in addressing the nationwide staffing shortage. He said that the FAA is aware that it needs more air traffic controllers, and noted that the agency was trying to hire many of them from numerous sources.
Following the Times’ investigation, different politicians from both parties have called on the FAA to address the shortage and prevent the issue from escalating. One of these was Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who said in a statement that failing to solve these “human capital issues” could be “catastrophic.”
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