GAO reported on its study of the air traffic control (ATC) work force. GAO: (1) surveyed air traffic controllers, supervisors, and facility managers about the prevalence of certain problems; and (2) studied Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data on staffing, overtime, and air traffic activity.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Federal Aviation Administration||1. FAA should impose restrictions on air traffic until both the number of FPL and overtime requirements meet its goals. Problems relating to both the number of FPL and overtime are most acute at the air route traffic control centers and FAA must recognize this in deciding what restrictions to impose.|
|Federal Aviation Administration||2. FAA should take into account the concerns of its controllers, supervisors, and facility managers, and reduce the total amount of time controllers are spending at radar control positions during a shift and the amount of time they are working without some sort of break during normal busy periods.|
|Federal Aviation Administration||3. FAA should take into account the concerns of its controllers, supervisors, and facility managers, and work with controllers and their supervisors to change sector configurations where sectors are handling too much traffic or are too complex. FAA should also evaluate the effectiveness of its flow control program.|
|Federal Aviation Administration||4. FAA should evaluate the effectiveness of its flow control program.|
|Federal Aviation Administration||5. FAA should include controllers and supervisors in the process of deciding how to improve management concerns.|
|Federal Aviation Administration||6. To more clearly report its progress in meeting its goals, FAA should report its staffing progress in terms of the ratio of fully qualified controllers to the controller work force, exclusive of air traffic assistants, and report overtime use for controllers actually working overtime and the variations in total usage among centers.|