Air Traffic Controllers Demand Investigation of FAA

By , Additional reporting by Pamela Browne Transportation FOXBusiness

Air traffic controllers demand FAA probe

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association is demanding answers following FBN's 'Trouble in the Skies' report. FBN's Adam Shapiro with more.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, NATCA, has called for an investigation of the FAA’s hiring practices following the FOX Business investigation “Trouble in the Skies” first telecast on May 20th. 

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A just released statement from the union which represents the nation’s air traffic controllers says, “NATCA believes these allegations must be thoroughly investigated. The FAA should carefully examine its hiring practices to ensure the highest quality candidates are selected for the training process.  The flying public deserves nothing less.”  

"The FAA should carefully examine its hiring practices to ensure the highest quality candidates are selected for the training process. The flying public deserves nothing less."

- National Association of Air Traffic Controllers

FOX Business uncovered cheating on a key exam to become an air traffic controller as well as serious questions about the validity of the FAA’s new hiring standards.  The FAA continues to refuse to respond to FOX Business and comment on a recording that shows an FAA employee Shelton Snow,  who is also an air traffic controller, offering specific answers to a test for job applicants.

Mr. Snow is also an officer in the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees, (NBCFAE) a group that says it is interested in increasing diversity within America’s air traffic control towers.   But, as reported on FOX Business, more than 3000 qualified candidates, many of them women, military veterans, Native American, and African Americans had their test scores thrown out in the advent of a murky new personality test. 

FAA sources who wish to remain anonymous say the FAA knew about the cheating in 2014 when 28,000 applicants began taking the test.  The FAA in a written statement to FOX Business said it had no credible allegations of cheating. The FAA hired 1591 people but only 564 have so far been able to pass the FAA’s training academy and enter the air traffic control work force.  

Critics call the FAA’s new “dumbed down” personality exam a misguided attempt to hire people off the street in order to promote diversity within the FAA.  NATCA spokesman Doug Church told FOX Business, “Travelers should be assured, our national airspace system is the safest and most efficient in the world thanks to air traffic controllers."

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Currently, there is a critical shortage of air traffic controllers in America’s airports. Experts tell FOX Business, 1000 new air traffic controllers must be hired per year to meet the needs as mandatory retirements kick in at age 56.

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