FAA announces key management changes amid air traffic control review
As part of its air traffic control overhaul, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has made some key changes to its management structure. By appointing three industry veterans to oversee critical air traffic control operations, the FAA hopes to avoid potentially embarrassing and dangerous incidents like the ones that have recently made headlines.
The FAA has tasked Chris Metts with directing all of its en route and oceanic operations and Walt Cochran with overseeing terminal operations. More specifically, Cochran will manage all of the FAA’s airport towers and terminal radar approach control facilities, or TRACONs.
Finally, Glen Martin, who previously served as the deputy air traffic manager at Chicago Center, will assume the role of air traffic manager at the Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center.
What’s more, the FAA is currently touring air traffic facilities around the nation to promote professionalism and high standards of conduct. The agency said it’s also evaluating key mid-level management roles to ensure that both technical and leadership expectations are being fulfilled.
So far, the FAA has suspended nine air traffic controllers and supervisors for incidents ranging from watching a DVD while on duty to falling asleep at work. The agency is also investigating why two controllers failed to properly hand off a departing plane to the Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center and why an aircraft carrying Michelle Obama got too close to a military freighter.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood hopes these three strategic appointments will thwart future incidents and help air traffic control facilities uphold the highest standards.
“We are continuing to do everything in our power to ensure that our nation’s aviation system remains the safest in the world,” LaHood said in a statement. “This is just the beginning of the process to make sure we have the best possible team in place.”
Th FAA's Randy Babbit echoes LaHood’s statement. “The FAA’s focus is safety,” Babbit said. “These changes ensure that we have the right people in the right places to help us carry out our mission. I am confident our top-to-bottom review is making our air traffic system even safer.”