Serious Problems Continue to Trouble the Air Traffic Control Work Force

T-RCED-89-44: Published: May 25, 1989. Publicly Released: May 25, 1989.

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GAO reviewed the results of its 1988 survey of air traffic controllers, supervisors, and facility managers at the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) 84 largest facilities. GAO found that: (1) controllers and, to a lesser extent, supervisors were troubled by a wide range of working conditions, such as handling too much traffic, overtime, quality of developmental training, morale, airline scheduling practices, out-of-date equipment, and other aspects of air traffic control that affect system safety and operating efficiency; (2) facility managers had a more favorable view of working conditions; (3) the results showed that there was little improvement in the air traffic control system since a 1985 survey, and the system's margin of safety remained less than desirable; and (4) FAA has implemented human resource and modernization initiatives, but has not closed the perception gap between facility managers and the rest of the work force.