The FAA plans to fill 12,500 jobs at radar screens across the country to offset the retirement of more than 11,000 veteran controllers, 73 percent of FAA controllers, who were hired to replace striking controllers fired by President Ronald Reagan two decades ago.
Better later than never. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey finally decided to abandon his traditional hiring practices – which were geared mainly at only meeting attrition instead of building a strong bench for the future. Not only does the FAA have to replace the retiring controllors but to keep up with demand for air transportation will increase it field from 14,800 today to about 16,200 controllers when the hiring is completed in 2014.
This may be easier said than done. We all know training is the most costly line item in bringing new people on board. Currently the FAA wash-out rate of trainees is 40 percent. So in addition to just finding enough qualified candidates, getting them to complete training and stay on board is an issue too.
The air traffic controllor situation is just one more example of impending Perfect Labor Storm.