Air Traffic Control Errors Soar 81%

But FAA say it's just because more are being reported
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2011 12:00 PM CST
In this June 30, 2008, a controller watches over air traffic from the control tower at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(Newser) – The number of air traffic control errors reported to the FAA has taken off over the past three years, climbing 81% from 2007 to 2010. More than 1,800 incidents were reported last year, according to USA Today, including 43 classified as the kind of error most likely to cause a mid-air collision. But the FAA says the skies haven’t actually gotten more dangerous—the inflated numbers are simply the result of a drive to increase incident reporting.

“We're really trying to encourage the reporting and classification of this information—because only then do we have a much safer system going forward,” said one FAA official, though he allows that some of the uptick may have been caused by a trend toward more on-the-job training of new controllers. Besides, whatever the numbers, they must be doing something right.

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