Krakowski Resigns Over Sleeping Controllers


The head of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization has resigned amid the growing controversy over sleeping air traffic controllers. Hank Krakowski, who assumed the post in 2007 after 30 years with United Airlines, quit Thursday morning after meeting with FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. Krakowski didn’t have anything to say about his resignation but Babbitt did, and essentially laid the issue in Krakowski’s lap. “The last few weeks we have seen examples of unprofessional conduct on the part of a few individuals that have rightly caused the traveling public to question our ability to ensure their safety,” Babbitt said, in a prepared statement. “This conduct must stop immediately. I am committed to maintaining the highest level of public confidence and that begins with strong leadership.”

The person now in charge of making sure controllers don’t fall asleep on the job is Chief Counsel David Grizzle, who will hold the job until a more permanent replacement for Krakowski is found. A sleeping air traffic control supervisor caused two flights arriving at Reagan National Airport in Washington to self-announce their approaches and landings in March and since then there have been revelations of other cases of snoozing controllers, which prompted a directive from the agency to require two on-duty controllers on the midnight shift at all 24-hour towers.