Its funny to hear about a shortage of air traffic controllers when we have so many ATC graduates each year. I know it take s a while before they can actually start controlling but still it just amazes me with how many students go through CTI schools and they still dont have enough. Im really starting to consider finishing my ATC courses at my school since I only have about 4 left to double major and maybe instead of going to the airlines ill apply to be a controller. At least the pay is a little better.
Well, you said it. It takes awhile to complete all the training. The FAA keeps telling the media that they are hiring 1800 controllers
a year. But just as hospitals don't hire new doctors, they hire interns, the FAA is hiring trainees who will take anywhere from 2-3 years and sometimes more to become completely certified.
NATCA began beating the drum for hiring 5 years ago which would have given adequate time for the trainees to become certified and then season a bit on their own. The FAA did not want to begin such a large hiring process until they had their B scale salary system in place. They knew that the imposed work rules and reduced salary structure could not be done until the contract at the time expired in 2006. That's why there is the big rush now to hire.
But the Catch 22 is that there are fewer experienced controllers to train because the imposed work rules leave no incentive to stay. More than 90% of the controller workforce is above their imposed pay bands and will not get a raise in their base pay. A controller's retirement pay is determined by a percentage of his base pay. If the base pay isn't increasing then what's the sense of staying to work 6 days a week, 10 hours per day for an employer that disrepects everything about your profession. At least there is a cost of living adjustment for retirement pay.
There is also no incentive to move from a smaller facility to a busier one. This has always been the progression in this profession. That is how the busier places kept up with the pace of traffic. Now the senior controllers in smaller facilities are above the new pay bands at the busier places. Let's see, stay here in Podunk or go to Atlanta and get my head beat in 6 days a week, 10 hours a day for the same pay.
Marion Blakey made the following statement when NATCA told congress that the imposed work rules would lead to a mass exodus of veteran controllers. "I was very surprised that the union said that there would be retirements triggered under the current proposal," Blakey said. "Our controllers are very smart ...They are going to do the math."
Yes Marion we have done the math and are replying just as we told you we would. This bunch does not have a clue and is orchestrating the demise of our air traffic system. But that's what they wanted all along. Now they can say to Boeing, Lockheed Martin and all the other aerospace contractors "Look at this mess we made. Save us from ourselves." Then you will have a privatized ATC system which no longer cares about safety being the bottom line. The almighty dollar will now be the bottom line.
I'll be driving.