The FAA is “taking immediate action to enhance air traffic controller training and safety reporting following the release of the National Airspace System Safety Review Team report Nov. 15, 2023.
“Aviation is safe because we are continuously looking for ways to improve,” said FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker. “The independent safety review team made some excellent recommendations and we are adopting some of them immediately.”
According to FAA officials, the independent safety review team examined the FAA’s internal safety processes, staffing levels and practices, as well as needs for facilities and equipment and how the agency’s air traffic budget is funded.
The FAA is taking immediate action on the following items recommended in the team’s report:
- Provide additional support to colleges and universities in the Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) Program. The FAA will work with AT-CTI programs to ensure that graduates from these programs have the necessary skills to begin on-the-job training at an air traffic control facility. These graduates still must pass the Air Traffic Skills Assessment (ATSA) exam and meet medical and security requirements. Previously, these graduates were required to attend the FAA Air Traffic Controller Academy prior to being assigned to a facility.
- Announced a year-round hiring track for experienced controllers from the military and private industry.
- Keep filling every seat at the FAA Academy and increase classroom capacity beyond current limits.
- Expand the use of advanced training across the country. The agency has new facilities in Chicago and San Diego, and will be adding them in Nashua and Phoenix in the spring of 2024.
- Finish deploying tower simulator systems in 95 facilities by December 2025. The FAA will deploy the first system in Austin by January 2024.