...Controllers Say Real Problem Not Addressed...

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So, aside from avoiding O'Hare in the big aluminum tubes, what does that mean to you? The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) says O'Hare's problems are the "canary in the coal mine" for system-wide problems and the controllers are singing a familiar tune. "The only acceptable and workable solutions to the Chicago O'Hare capacity crunch are to pour more concrete and hire more controllers," said President John Carr. He said it's inevitable that flight caps will be necessary at other airports if the predicted controller shortage and ongoing capacity problems aren't addressed. Of course, the controllers want more staff hired immediately to fill gaps they say are already forming. Carr noted that the 70 fully qualified controllers at the Chicago TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control) work mandatory overtime because there should be another 31 people able to man the consoles. Because the busiest airports demand the most experienced controllers, O'Hare's TRACON staff average 45 years of age and half will be eligible for retirement by the end of next year.