AFSS Staff Gets Crack At Controller Jobs

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It now seems clear that there are wholesale changes in store for the automated flight services system (AFSS) as a result of study into its privatization. The results of the review, called an A-76 study, won't be released until later this month, but FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has already announced measures designed to soften the blow for some of the thousands of employees who will be affected. She traveled to the AFSS at Altoona, Pa., on Wednesday to say that qualified FSS personnel will get first crack at job vacancies for tower and en route controllers. Blakey's announcement comes a couple of weeks after the agency released a report saying it will hire 12,500 "new" controllers to replace the 11,700 eligible to retire in the next 10 years. As many as 2,000 AFSS employees could lose their jobs in the anticipated privatization and contraction of the system. To qualify for the job placement program, the AFSS employees must have been certified in the active control and separation of traffic at an FAA tower or facility, through the military or at a privately contracted tower. Internal red tape will also be minimized, Blakey said.