Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) efforts to address short- and long-term controller staffing needs, focusing on: (1) the key variables FAA uses to project future controller staffing needs and evaluate their reasonableness; (2) whether FAA has identified a sufficient number of controller candidates to satisfy its short- and long-term staffing needs and evaluate FAA's plans to train new controllers; and (3) impediments that hinder FAA from staffing air traffic control (ATC) facilities at specified levels.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Transportation||1. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to incorporate actual information on the age, years of service, and retirement eligibility date of current controllers into its projections of future controller retirements.|
|Department of Transportation||2. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to determine, for future planning purposes, when former Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization members currently in the controller candidate pool will become eligible to retire and would need to be replaced, by evaluating demographic data, such as the former controllers' age, years spent actually controlling traffic, and years of potential retirement eligibility.|
|Department of Transportation||3. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to monitor the training costs for Collegiate Training Initiative and Mid-America Resource Consortium graduates hired in FY 1997 and 1998, who will be trained under the old and new programs, to determine whether the anticipated savings will be realized and whether such savings will offset the increased costs of providing centralized training at the FAA Academy.|