Aviation Safety:

Comparison of Specific Responses in FAA Controller Questionnaire

RCED-89-162FS: Published: May 24, 1989. Publicly Released: Jun 22, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on air traffic controllers' responses to survey questions about working conditions, focusing on questions regarding the amount of traffic they handled, frequency of certain traffic actions, system safety, and staff availability, experience, and morale.

GAO found that air traffic controllers who responded that they handled much more or somewhat more traffic than they should generally indicated that they were more likely to: (1) often or very often provide lesser services to pilots than those controllers who were handling lesser amounts of traffic; and (2) work more than 2 hours without a break during typical daily peak periods than those working an appropriate or lesser amount of traffic. GAO also found that those controllers who rated overall system safety as excellent or good were more likely than other controllers to indicate that they: (1) worked an appropriate or lesser amount of traffic; (2) provided pilots with pilot-requested information or services; (3) believed full-performance-level controller staffing levels were appropriate; and (4) had less experience controlling traffic for the Federal Aviation Administration.