...FAA "Tiger Team" Deployed
The FAA has sent a "tiger team" to the TRACON to investigate the situation, Schumer said. Its full report is expected sometime this week. The dispute began after the FAA changed overtime procedures in January, and the number of "operational errors" spiked. "What we believe we have is a rogue group of employees engaged in a shakedown," FAA spokesman Greg Martin told Newsday. (Translation: The FAA believes the increase is in reported errors is the direct result of employees protesting their recently imposed inability to log overtime -- not a sudden lapse in safety.) NATCA spokesman Doug Church told AVweb the trouble is a lack of staffing and the result is an increase in errors. "The FAA has failed to adequately staff the New York TRACON to handle the traffic demands. Traffic is up more than 5 percent. But staffing is down." The facility is short nearly 50 controllers from the number the FAA agrees the staffing level should be at, Church said. "They are running the shifts short, and errors are on the rise."