Plan for the Future: 10- Year Strategy for the Air Traffic Control Workforce, 2011-2020   [open pdf - 8MB]

"Safety is the top priority of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as it manages America's National Airspace System (NAS). Thanks to the expertise of people and the support of technology, tens of thousands of aircraft are guided safely and expeditiously every day through the NAS to their destinations. Workload An important part of managing the NAS involves actively aligning controller resources with demand. The FAA 'staffs to traffic,' matching the number of air traffic controllers at its facilities with traffic volume and workload. The FAA's staffing needs are dynamic due to the dynamic nature of the workload and traffic volume. Traffic Air traffic demand has declined significantly since 2000, the peak year for traffic. For the purposes of this plan, air traffic includes aircraft that are controlled, separated and managed by air traffic controllers. This includes commercial passenger and cargo aircraft as well as general aviation and military aircraft. In the past decade, volume has declined by 22 percent and is not expected to return to 2000 levels in the near term. Headcount System-wide controller headcount is slightly higher than in 2000. We continue to hire in advance of need to allow sufficient training time for our new hires to replace retiring controllers. On a per-operation basis, the FAA has more fully certified controllers on board today than in 2000. Retirements Fiscal year 2010 retirements were below projections, and lower than FY 2009. In addition, current year retirements are trending close to plan. The FAA carefully tracks actual retirements and projects future losses to make sure its recruitment and training keep pace. Hiring In the last five years, the FAA has hired more than 7,800 new air traffic controllers. The Department of Transportation's Inspector General stated that the FAA has 'done what I can only say is a remarkable job in hiring replacements for controllers who have decided to leave.'"

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