FAA Air Traffic Controller Staffing Issues

Published: Jun 12, 1986. Publicly Released: Jun 12, 1986.

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GAO discussed: (1) the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) progress in increasing the number of air traffic controllers; and (2) legislation that proposes rehiring some of the controllers fired after the strike in 1981. GAO found that: (1) the FAA controller work force consists of persons who actually monitor air traffic, are training at the FAA academy, or perform clerical duties; (2) there is little likelihood that FAA will reach its goal of 14,480 and 15,000 controllers by fiscal years (FY) 1986 and 1987, respectively; (3) FAA failed to show that training attrition rates would be lower by the end of FY 1986 and could not accurately predict that a new training program would result in a lower attrition rate; (4) the number of controller retirements may be higher than FAA anticipates; and (5) FAA is opposed to rehiring any former controllers.