FAA Reports Radical Changes At N.Y. TRACON

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Yesterday, the FAA reported that it has made progress with problems at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) six months after implementing new management controls at the facility. "Overtime has decreased by 76 percent," said Bruce Johnson, vice president of the FAA's Air Traffic Organization in charge of terminal operations. In fiscal year 2004, overtime cost $4.12 million, higher than any other large TRACON, Johnson said, and in fiscal year 2006, the cost is projected to be under $1 million. Time on position has increased by 38 percent, and operational errors have decreased significantly. Four separate studies assert that the facility only needs 190 controllers. Currently, 206 are on staff, plus 11 in training. NATCA says the facility should have 270 controllers. "Did traffic counts go down so much to require that many fewer controllers on the scopes?" NATCA spokesman Doug Church asked yesterday. "Not according to the figures on traffic that we have. Traffic is roughly the same this year as the previous year."