...As Budget Cuts Threaten To Shut Down Training Center(s)?
We warned last month that it was happening, but amid all the angst over controller shortages, it seemed implausible that the FAA would actually yank its funding from a training center that churns out up to 70 percent of its en route controllers ... but that's what happened. The air traffic controller training center at Flying Cloud Airport, in Eden Prairie, Minn., will close down this fall, after the FAA decided to divert all of its training funds to Oklahoma City, the Associated Press (AP) reported on Thursday. The program at Minneapolis Community and Technical College had previously received up to $2 million a year from the FAA. The program graduates about 100 students a year, and employs 17 faculty and staff, including 12 former air traffic controllers. All 17 will probably have to be laid off, the school told the AP. The FAA budget is still wending its way through Washington's machinery, so there's always a chance that the funding will be restored. Rep. Jim Oberstar of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the House Transportation Committee, told the AP he will try to amend the FAA budget when it comes to a House vote.