Representative Brad Miller (D-N.C.) said today the FAA’s proposal to change aviation weather services is “a determination by the FAA to solve a problem that appears not to exist.”
Miller’s Science and Technology’s Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing Thursday to question why the FAA wants to cut the number of weather forecasters.
Currently 84 forecasters working in 21 centers provide 16 hours of service each day. The FAA proposes to consolidate this to where the National Weather Service (NWS) would have just 36 forecasters working out of two centers providing 24 hours of service each day. The result would be that on any morning or afternoon shift there would be only eight forecasters covering the lower 48 states as opposed to 20 on the shifts now. This would mean each forecaster would have much more airspace to be responsible for and “deprive controllers the opportunity to have a forecaster to stand over their shoulders in the event of a crisis.”
For three decades, Miller said, the NWS has provided the FAA with aviation weather forecast services that appear to have met the needs of air traffic controllers. However the FAA has been pushing for the change since 2005, claiming it would lead to cost savings without sacrificing service. Miller said no proposal by the FAA for consolidation has demonstrated meaningful savings.
Air traffic controllers support the current system and oppose consolidation of weather services.
For more information: FAA.gov