GREENSBORO, N.C – It used to be air traffic controllers would just have to focus on four or five planes at a time. Now union leaders say they have to handle up to 10 at one time because of staffing shortages. Remember these are the people who keep you safe in that plane now doubling their workload.
2 Wants To Know first raised concerns about the staffing shortages back in October. Since then the story has taken off landing a congressional hearing and a new law to try and fix the problem.
Before we tell you the solution, here was the problem: not enough applicants qualify for all the open positions. Members of the House Transportation Committee blamed the FAA's hiring red tape. More specially, the biographical assessment, a test about your work background, life experiences and how you handle stress. In 2014, only about one in 12 applicants passed the test. To gauge whether the test was too tough, the FAA had 18,000 current air traffic controllers take the exam, and less than one in three current employees passed.
The FAA changed some questions in 2015, and stood behind the exam. But Congressman were still concerned when they heard an air traffic controller for the military couldn't pass the FAA exam.
Shortly after a hearing this summer, Congress reformed the whole process a new law signed by the president. It forbids the FAA from using those biographical assessments and encourages them to align more with how the military decides if a candidate is qualified. Of course 2 Wants To Know will keep a tab on things to see if this law helps.
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