Wednesday, February 06, 2008

ATC On Sale

This story (below) probably won’t make it into the major media outlets. In that it’s Super Tuesday, it probably won’t even be mentioned by too many smaller outlets. That’s a shame. It could provide a good lesson.

First, read this glowing press release.

Oct. 12, 2007

”Of the 15 students to graduate from the air traffic control program, 14 students have been hired by the FAA and one student has been hired by a federal contract tower operator. The graduation marks the first time in history that the FAA has hired graduates from a trade school. Additionally, it’s the first time a trade school or college has not had to go through the FAA academy in Oklahoma City before being assigned to a facility.”

”Silver State Helicopters opened their first air traffic control training location in 2006 in New Braunfels, Tex. in response to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) announcement to hire 12,500 controllers over a 10-year period. The plan was developed to cover the projected loss of 11,000 controllers and will replace expected retirees between 2007 and 2014.“

Next, you get to read reality.

Silver State shuts down

”“(Sliver State has) suspended operations. We know nothing about what their long-range plans are,” Morrison said. “We are going to enter into some contract labor agreements so we can continue to provide air traffic control at the tower.”

The Silver State board’s decision to cease operations at its helicopter training and air traffic control school almost certainly spells the end for the estimated 30 local employees, some of whom relocated to New Braunfels from Las Vegas. “

Just to save you a trip to Google Maps, New Braunfels is about 30 miles northeast of San Antonio, TX.

I hope the FAA Administrator wasn’t leaning too heavily on The Silver State Air Traffic Control Academy “to put the right number of controllers in the right place at the right time.”

Don Brown
February 5, 2008

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