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NATCA: Controller Incident "Unacceptable"

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An incident last week in which a controller told a Delta pilot to abort a landing at Atlanta Hartsfield Airport and later said he was "kidding" was "completely inappropriate and unacceptable," NATCA spokesman Doug Church told AVweb on Monday. "This incident never should have happened," Church said. "NATCA takes very seriously its shared commitment with the FAA to maintain the U.S. National Airspace System status as the safest in the world. Our nation's air traffic control workforce is held to the highest standards of professionalism and this controller fell far short of that." Church said the controller has apologized to the airline and to his colleagues.

Flight 630, a Boeing 777 from Detroit, was on final last Wednesday when the controller told the crew to go around. The crew had already initiated the go-around when the controller cancelled the order and again cleared them to land. "I'm kidding, Delta 630," the controller was heard to say on tape. "After you land, I've got no one behind you. Expect to exit right." They went around anyway and landed safely on the second try.

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