FAA May Shut 20 Air Traffic Weather Offices

Under plan, 2 forecast centers would serve entire country
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 5, 2009 7:22 AM CDT
Chicago's O'Hare International airport air traffic control specialist David Borger, right, talks to U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters in the new control tower at O'Hare airport in Chicago, Thursday,...   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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(Newser) – The FAA may close 20 weather offices in air traffic control centers across the US, and instead connect all air traffic controllers to a pair of stations in Maryland and Missouri, the Washington Post reports. The money-saving plan would mean cutting controllers’ face-to-face contact with weather officials, something technology has eliminated the need for, says the FAA.

National Weather Service and air traffic control unions are up in arms about the idea. “This is a foolish plan that puts cost savings ahead of safety,” said an air traffic controllers’ rep. “Quite frankly, we cannot believe such a reckless idea has gotten this far.” An official says “no final decisions or commitments” have been made, and the plan would be subject to a 9-month evaluation.