Audio Sources - Full Text Articles

Buttigieg: Air traffic control not at desired staffing levels

Listen to this article

CHICAGO (NewsNation) — Within the past year, air travel has seen its fair share of issues. From critical FAA system failures to overscheduled flights, cancellation after cancellation and now a shortage of air traffic control staff, the aviation industry has had a busy year.

However, according to Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the FAA, more travel woes are to be expected as the national aviation system remains under the public’s microscope.

The transportation agency has been zeroing in on what’s behind the travel troubles.

During a NewsNation interview, Buttigieg explained one of the biggest issues facing the aviation industry right now is the huge shortage of air traffic control staff.

“We do see a concern in terms of the availability of enough air traffic control staffers, that you have backups if somebody calls in sick or if there’s a lot of pressure on a particular region or tower. And in some areas, we’re not at the staffing levels that I want us to see,” Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg said the DOT has been pushing for more air traffic controllers, including hiring 1,500 controllers this year and hoping to bring in 1,800 in 2024 if the DOT receives the funding asked of Congress.

The DOT has also asked Congress to pass an FAA reauthorization bill covering the next five years, which would help with these issues as well.

“I’d like to see us have about 3,000 more (air traffic control) than we have right now,” Buttigieg said. “Just to be clear, that doesn’t mean there are empty seats in a tower. But, what it does mean, is you don’t have the kind of buffer, the kind of redundancy, that you want to.”

NewsNation Prime will air Buttigieg’s full interview this Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.

In addition to the air traffic control shortage, discussion topics will include rail safety in the wake of the East Palestine trail derailment disaster, blocked railroad crossings and disruptions in rural/small-town America.

Plus, we’ll have Buttigieg’s first on-camera comments on the recent FAA certification of flying cars, and his perspective on the 2024 race for the White House. 

Devan Markham contributed to this report.

Spread the news
WP Radio
WP Radio