Air Traffic Control: FAA Enhanced the Controller-in-Charge Program, but More Comprehensive Evaluation is Needed

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Each day, nearly two million passengers on 25,000 flights depend on the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Air Traffic Control (ATC) system to safely reach their destinations. Because the ATC system requires thousands of controllers, each of whom typically manages just a section of airspace or one aspect of an aircraft's takeoff or landing, FAA depends on supervisors to monitor air traffic operations and controllers' workload and performance to ensure that the system is operating safely. In negotiating its 1998 collective bargaining agreement with its controllers' union, ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. October 31, 2001.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Each day, nearly two million passengers on 25,000 flights depend on the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Air Traffic Control (ATC) system to safely reach their destinations. Because the ATC system requires thousands of controllers, each of whom typically manages just a section of airspace or one aspect of an aircraft's takeoff or landing, FAA depends on supervisors to monitor air traffic operations and controllers' workload and performance to ensure that the system is operating safely. In negotiating its 1998 collective bargaining agreement with its controllers' union, FAA agreed to a national plan that would reduce by attrition the number of supervisors who oversee air traffic controllers. To avoid compromising safety, FAA will increasingly have its controllers performing supervisory duties as Controllers-in-Charge (CIC) when supervisors are not present. Nationwide, FAA has selected 8,268 controllers to serve as CICs, which is about 55 percent of its air traffic controller workforce. GAO found that the materials for FAA's CIC training program were through and comprehensive, but FAA has little assurance that the training was effectively presented and achieved its objectives. Although FAA assessed training at a few facilities, the agency has not obtained evaluations from most of the students who completed the course or conducted an overall evaluation of whether the training was effective. FAA has not consistently implemented its quality assurance procedures for the CIC expansion. Five of the 12 facilities GAO visited did not have quality assurance measures in place for the CIC expansion, and the remaining seven facilities relied on their existing quality assurance programs to monitor the impact of the CIC expansion. The reduction of supervisors will save FAA $141.5 million, or about $23.1 million less than it estimated. FAA did not factor in the 10-percent premium FAA pays controllers for serving as CICs, which GAO estimates will cost $41.5 million over the five-year life of the agreement, but supervisory attrition has been happening faster than FAA estimated, increasing its net savings by about $18.4 million. To fully assess productivity gains from its initiatives, FAA believes it needs more data. FAA expects to have a system in place to capture productivity data by fiscal year 2002."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • October 31, 2001

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Air Traffic Control: FAA Enhanced the Controller-in-Charge Program, but More Comprehensive Evaluation is Needed, report, October 31, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294740/: accessed November 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.