FAA To Unsuccessful ATC Applicants: Try Again Next Year

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The FAA is urging those who didn't make it in its latest air traffic control recruitment to try again. In a statement to AVweb (PDF) it also says it plans to make "further improvements" to the controversial new hiring protocol. However, it doesn't appear to be considering going back to the old system. As we reported on Monday, the new system, which disregards education and relevant experience in the initial selection process for ATC candidates and instead relies solely on the answers given to a "biographical questionnaire," has upset educational institutions that have, until this year, been a pipeline for new controllers and the 2014 graduates of those air traffic control courses. The agency says it's heard the "feedback from members of Congress and the public we continue to evaluate our recruitment and applicant assessment process" and denies that the changes to the system by an agenda to attract a more diverse range of candidates.

 "The new hiring process is blind on the issue of diversity, from start to finish, meaning we do not know the diversity of our candidates until they are hired," the agency said. Most of the complaints arose because the agency abandoned its former practice of letting qualified applicants know they were in an inventory of "qualified  candidates" and instead only chose those who rose to the top. "The selection process for new air traffic controllers was very competitive," the agency said. "In the course of two weeks, we received over 28,000 applications for 1,700 positions."  The FAA will hire 6,600 controllers over the next five years.