The US secretary of Transportation has asked airports to consider adding a second air-traffic controller to their overnight shifts. But one key congressman says that would be a waste of money.
After an air-traffic controller was suspended for falling asleep during an overnight shift at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, federal lawmakers and officials are debating the balance between adding more personnel to increase safety and the financial costs of doing so.
On Thursday, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood directed Reagan airport to add a second controller to its overnight shift and advised other airports with only one night controller to review their staffing policies.
Congressman Mica pledged to investigate the matter but noted there are few flights into Reagan airport during the night shift, and that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has a policy of allocating staff to match air traffic. Adding another air-traffic controller, he said, goes against that policy.