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Buttigieg: US needs more air traffic controllers

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said more air traffic controllers are needed to address the concerns of them being overworked. 

Buttigieg said the administration is requesting funding from Capitol Hill lawmakers to hire 2,000 additional controllers.

“We need more, and we’re hiring more,” Buttigieg said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” 

“If you look at just a chart over the last 30 years or so, the number of air traffic controllers has gone down and down and down, until recently where we finally got that number going up,” he continued.

“We hired 1,500, then 1,800 in this year. We’re requesting a budget from Congress and let us hire 2,000 next year so that you don’t have as much of this concern about controllers being overworked.” 

The reports of air traffic controllers suffering from exhaustion and burnout were captured in a 114-page report released this year, which found that lack of sleep, especially during night shifts, potentially hindering safety and leading to accidents. 

Following the report, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued new rules and guidelines to deal with reports of fatigue among air traffic controllers. The new rules, which will take effect this summer, mandate controllers take 12 hours off before midnight shifts and 10 hours off between regular shifts.

“These controllers are pros, and it’s extraordinary what they do, but we need to support them for that very reason, with the right kind of space between their shifts with more controllers coming into their ranks, and importantly, with better technology,” Buttigieg said. 

He said the administration is working on “upgrading” the technology and is asking Congress for a “mandatory account that would make it easier for the FAA to plan.”

Source: The Hill

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