FAA sets new rules for air traffic controllers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

FAA sets new rules for air traffic controllers

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New rules are being put in place to prevent air traffic controllers from falling asleep on the job after incidents at 7 different airports including right here in Lubbock.

Two air traffic controllers at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport were suspended after allegations they failed to do their jobs. The FAA says the two Hub City controllers did not hand off control of an aircraft bound for Fort Worth and failed to accept control on another flight.

The new regulations come after the FAA suspended a controller in Miami for apparently napping on the job Saturday morning.

"I'm outraged about this," says Ray LaHood, transportation secretary at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport. "I want the flying public to know that we're doing everything we can, 24/7, to correct this problem. We cannot allow controllers to fall asleep in control towers. We're not going to stand by and let that happen."

Among the new rules:

  • Controllers will now have a minimum of nine hours off between shifts, instead of the current eight-hour minimum, that will apply when they swap shifts as well.
  • Controllers can no longer be put on an unscheduled midnight shift following a day off.

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