FAA fatigue measures win NATCA suppport

The US National Air Traffic Controllers Association has given its support to the FAA´s latest steps to tackle fatigue.
NATCA President Paul Rinaldi issued the statement of support after yet another incident.
Here the controller fell asleep during his shift at the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Centre, which oversees mostly high-altitude, long-distance flights. According to the FAA, this time the controller did not miss any calls from aircraft and there was no operational impact.
“NATCA stands in full support of the FAA’s immediate steps both today and last week to address the recent incidents, including last night’s episode at Miami Air Route Traffic Control Centre.
“NATCA and the FAA are in agreement that fatigue and scheduling must be addressed and I applaud and thank Administrator Babbitt for taking quick and decisive action today to address a large part of the problem and implement immediate steps.
“This latest incident earlier today is of great concern, as it is never acceptable when we don’t provide the level of service expected and required of us on every shift. We take our responsibilities very seriously and believe fatigue is a significant factor in these instances. We will continue to work with the FAA and through our professional standards workgroup to address the issue.
“Because there was adequate staffing in this large regional radar facility at the time, the incident was caught without any operational impact and no aircraft calls were missed. This shows that one part of the FAA’s plan for addressing this issue announced last week – adding additional staffing on the midnight shift at airport towers – was a wise move.
“However, our main focus is upholding our highest standards of professionalism and working with the FAA to reduce the effects of fatigue. To that end, the Administrator has made a smart move today to prohibit scheduling practices that have been identified as those most likely to result in air traffic controller fatigue.
“We are working closely with the FAA to continue the significant efforts underway to address fatigue and, as the FAA announced today, more details are forthcoming.
“The guideposts here for further action are the recommendations of the FAA-NATCA joint workforce on fatigue, which were the result of a year and a half of efforts. They provide science-based, healthy solutions to reducing controller fatigue.
“Finally, we are anxious to begin on Monday morning a nationwide tour of air traffic control facilities with the Administrator and other top FAA officials. We will have direct conversations with controllers and continue our call to action to raise awareness, reinforce our professional standards and reaffirm our commitment to the safety of the system.”

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