Staffing, Training, and Funding Issues for FAA's Major Work Forces

T-RCED-90-42: Published: Mar 14, 1990. Publicly Released: Mar 14, 1990.

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GAO discussed work-force issues affecting the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) operations. GAO noted that: (1) FAA made progress in increasing its work force, but was still not meeting its staffing needs, especially for air traffic controllers; (2) assuming FAA completed its hiring plan for 1990, staffing shortages would total about 1,900 experienced controllers, 500 inspectors, and 1,500 maintenance technicians; (3) FAA did not adequately train its work forces; (4) FAA developed a 6-year, $406-million plan to modernize its work force training programs, but needed better management to ensure that the plan remained on schedule; (5) FAA needed a predictable flow of funds to ensure adequate work-force training; (6) FAA would require increased operations funding to meet staffing and training goals; (7) the Aviation Trust Fund would provide a reliable and stable source of FAA operations expense funding, but any fund drawdown could only be accomplished by increasing the deficit or at the expense of other federal programs; and (8) FAA operational and pilot errors have declined each year since 1987.