Four More Dozing Air Traffic Controllers Suspended

FAA will add controllers at 26 airports

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 14, 2011 8:32 AM CDT

(Newser) – The epidemic of snoozing air traffic controllers continues: Four more have been suspended for nodding off on the job, the FAA announced yesterday. One of those was a controller at Nevada's Reno-Tahoe International Airport, who slept for 16 minutes early yesterday as an airborne ambulance carrying a patient landed with no assistance. Another, in Seattle, fell asleep on the job three times in less than a week, the Wall Street Journal reports.

In response to the spate of incidents (click here and here for the first two), more overnight staffers will be added at 26 airports, officials say. The airports affected previously had only one overnight controller in the tower, but will now have two. In addition, in an effort to ensure the "safety and professionalism" of controllers, officials will visit control facilities starting next week, FAA chief Randy Babbitt says. Meanwhile, a group of officials is campaigning for "controlled napping" to be allowed at some locations during controllers' breaks.

An air traffic control tower is seen in Memphis.
An air traffic control tower is seen in Memphis.   (AP Photo/Greg Campbell, File)
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