...Union, FAA (And Public Opinion)

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Carr said the Fly Us Safe campaign (cost unknown) is aimed at educating the public on three main issues that threaten the safety of air travel. He said the ads will address what the union claims is a critical staffing shortage, poor progress on needed technological improvements and withering staff morale. He said that despite FAA promises to address staffing, the system is short 1,500 controllers and only 13 were hired last year. Martin pointed out that 1,250 will be hired next year. Carr said the FAA has cut technology programs and is slow to implement others and he also noted that a recent survey of government employees indicated that the FAA was the worst government department to work for. Carr drew parallels between the performance of federal agencies in response to Hurricane Katrina and what he said were looming dangers in aviation. "We can see new dangers on the horizon," he said. Carr noted that operational errors have increased at key FAA installations where staffing levels have been cut.