US air traffic controllers to have more rest hours, after another sleeping controller suspended

By on Apr 17, 2011 in Travel, United States Comments

US air traffic controllers will now enjoy more rest hours, as another sleeping air traffic controller was suspended, apparently the seventh case this year.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
Image Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

According to US news sites on Sunday, April 17, 2011, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that air traffic controllers will now have a minimum of nine hours of rest between tightly scheduled shifts.

The announcement came after Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed on Saturday that a Miami air traffic controller, whose name was not disclosed, was suspended for sleeping while on duty.

About two days ago, FAA Air Traffic head Henry Krakowski resigned from his post in the middle of the controversy involving sleeping air traffic controllers.

On Sunday morning, Secretary LaHood told reports that all air traffic controllers will have a minimum of nine hours off instead of the usual rest hours of eight hours.

In addition, air traffic controllers will not be allowed to swap shifts unless they have completed the nine-hour rest, and also cannot be on an unscheduled midnight shifts their day off.

“I don’t know when I’ve ever been madder. I’m outraged about this,” LaHood was quoted as telling to Fox News. “We’re doing everything we can 24-7 to correct this problem.”

On the other hand, FAA Head Randy Babbitt said that the new rules will be implemented immediately over the weekend and may be still be subjected to fine tuning if necessary.

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