NewsHuge problems overseas: Outdated equipment and shortage of air traffic controllers

Huge problems overseas: Outdated equipment and shortage of air traffic controllers

The tower at the airport in Denver, USA.
The tower at the airport in Denver, USA.
Images source: © Getty Images | Rex_Wholster
ed. MZUG
3:29 PM EST, November 18, 2023

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the U.S. has been urgently called to address aviation safety concerns within the country. A report was submitted by an external team of experts, highlighting a shortage of personnel and outdated infrastructure at airports.

Upon the instruction of the FAA, an independent group of experts was tasked with identifying the reasons behind a series of dangerous incidents occurring at airports, as reported by the New York Times. Led by former FAA administrator Michael P. Huerta, the experts provided a detailed report on their findings.

Notably, the report criticized the stark understaffing among air traffic controllers and the use of outdated equipment. It further emphasized that the current level of safety "is not sufficient", according to the New York Times.

"There are no short-term solutions "

In response to the report, the FAA was urged to address staffing shortages and modernize its technology. Michael P. Huerta noted that there are no easy or immediate solutions to these challenges. Moreover, he stressed that overcoming these issues requires collaboration from the Federal Aviation Administration, Congress, and the entire industry.

Furthermore, Huerta suggested the FAA should adjust its funding approach, such as adopting broader protections from government shutdowns, or periods when the budget is enacted and certain government agencies are suspended.

The report supported journalistic investigations conducted by both The Times and New York Times, revealing that 99% of American air traffic control units are understaffed. This finding underscores the alarming frequency of hazardous incidents involving commercial airlines, occurring on a near-weekly basis.

"The FAA acknowledges the report of the independent Safety Review Team with appreciation—we will thoroughly analyze the recommendations," stated the agency's new administrator, Michael G. Whitaker, in a statement.

The FAA elaborated on its commitment to improving safety measures and reducing hazardous events at airports. It confirmed that it has already taken initial steps towards these changes, including the provision of additional funding for remodeling taxi routes and upgrading runway lights, as reported by the New York Times.

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