Schumer, NATCA Say ATC Staffing Inadequate

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Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said the FAA is not staffing air traffic control facilities in the state adequately. In Albany, for example, there should be 30 full-time controllers, but there are only 26, Schumer told The Associated Press. "It started as a labor dispute, but now it's become a safety issue. The FAA cuts are absurd," he said. FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told the AP the union's numbers don't reflect actual staffing needs. "We have a staffing plan to put the right number of controllers in the right place at the right time," Brown said. "There may be a few facilities here and there where we have a couple fewer controllers than what we want." On Wednesday, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) said staffing issues in Tulsa, Okla., threaten air safety. Controllers in the TRACON, which the controller group says is already understaffed, now must stay on duty for the busy morning rush hour after working a long overnight shift. Previously, fresh controllers were brought on to start a morning shift before the rush, NATCA said. It claims the scheduling change was made without any input from the facilitys controller workforce.