April 17th, 2011
11:29 AM ET

After sleeping incidents, FAA changes shift rules

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Sunday that the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Traffic Controllers Union have reached an agreement to make changes in the aftermath of recent incidents involving sleeping air traffic controllers. The changes will be effective immediately.

Controllers will now have a minimum of nine hours off between shifts. Currently they were getting as few as eight. Controllers will no longer be able to swap shifts unless they have a minimum of nine hours off between the last shift they worked and the one they want to begin. They will no longer be able to switch to an unscheduled midnight shift following a day off.

FAA managers will schedule their own shifts in a way to ensure greater coverage in the early morning and late night hours.

On Saturday, the FAA suspended another traffic controller caught sleeping. The incident occurred at the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center during the midnight shift early Saturday morning, the agency reported.

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Filed under: Air travel • FAA • Travel
soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. RUFFNUTT

    why not just get them pillows and a bunkbed behind the control board?

    April 17, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • maryw

      you guys dont get it do u .They have 8 hours only,to shower,eat,sleep,and be back at work at 7 hours and fifty nine minutes.No-one can get off of work and go sstraight to sleep,no-one,they need at least 16 hours till there next shift.maryw

      April 18, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jazzzzzzzz

    Guess they finally thought it would make sense to have more than 1 person on a shift
    @ Ruffnutt HELLO. Where is Elephantballs , miss his sarcasm

    April 17, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. AMERICA 1st

    WOW! a whole 9 hours then another who knows how many hour day. its obvious the hmfic doesnt want to spend money to hire more air controllers. another example of nobama agenda!

    April 17, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Janice

      example... of whose what? Okay look here America-hater, the problem existed before Obama took office 3 years ago. Talk to air traffic controllers. Bushey-poo didn't do ANYTHING. At least this is something. You want miracles? Stick your head back in the sand. "America 1st". What a laugh! You only chose that name so you could troll the internet, spew hate and then hide behind your "patriotism". It's too bad that the next generation is faster and better than you. I'd have to bet – you are in your mid-40's and living in Colorado. How DID you ever learn to use the interwebular tubes?!

      April 18, 2011 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. fjtrtr

    My boyfriend thinks the same with me. He is 12 years older than me, lol. We met online at A'geM'ing'le. com The premiere online community for older women seek younger men or older men seek younger women to meet and share your interests. Ever feel that you would best enjoy someone who is not in your age group? Leave behind the other general dating sites out there and try us.

    April 17, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Warren

      That might be a very good idea,fjtrtr. I'll be 84 next month and I'm in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer's disease. I can no loger remember my family nor any of my friends so I think I'll try the dating services. At least I'll think about it if I can. By the way,is there a war in Afghanistan now? Are the Russians still there or did the Americans take over?

      April 17, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fjtrtr

    WOW! a whole 9 hours then another who knows how many hour day. its obvious the hmfic doesnt want to spend money to hire more air controllers. another example of nobama agenda! My boyfriend thinks the same with me. He is 12 years older than me, lol. We met online at A'geM'ing'le. com The premiere online community for older women seek younger men or older men seek younger women to meet and share your interests. Ever feel that you would best enjoy someone who is not in your age group? Leave behind the other general dating sites out there and try us.

    April 17, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. hemp vs cotton

    The upside to this issue is epochal. This may lead to naps for all workers everywhere.
    Worked for Kraft foods several years ago and it was standard practice for everyone to sleep 3 hrs. per shift.
    Surprising how long it has taken for this best practice to catch on. Especially considering the root cause of sleep is tiredness.

    April 17, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Well it is about time they did something rotating shifts aren't safe with those jobs requiring alertness...it takes the body at least 3 days to acclimate to extremes shifts...I don't think 9hours is enough...should limit hours on the night shift to 4 hours...I don't know how you can suspend someone when it's apparent work conditions not the employee caused this problem...

      April 17, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ FJTRTR , Yah you would think after all we pay they would have enough to pay for 2 controllers, but NOOOOOOOOO. HEHEHE

    April 17, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. SierraZulu

    O.K. Why no go the other way and make the airports uncontrolled airports during these slow times. Apparently a controller is not needed to land these planes, as they did land safely without one, Why not establish procedures to have them unstaffed during the slow hours.? It would save money and create additional staffing on other shifts and still be safe. Also, if it wasn't safe to land at these airports then why aren't there any reports about the pilots violating safty standards to make a schedule.

    April 17, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. RUFFNUTT

    maybe they should ban the employees from eating turkey sandwichs for lunch..

    April 17, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ElephentNutts

    ElephentNutts vs. RUFFNUTS ;

    ON PAY per VIEW tonight on cnn bloggers

    April 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jazzzzzzzz

    ElephantBALLS , I missed you. You always make me laugh the hardest. Where have u been?

    April 17, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ElephentNutts

    @Jazz7 i've been out of town /had alot of hose downs during the last few weeks .. Man!! r my nutts hard as a rock ,i've had ice on them 4 3 days now ,how r u little sunshine ,did you here about the fights tonight we got set u on pay per view ?

    April 17, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      43??? I going play that number on my lottery ticket...

      April 17, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jazzzzzzzz

    Yah, that's when the heavens opened up again for me, LOLO. You need to take it easy on those HOSE DOWNS, Maybe think about making appointments from now on. I will be glad to be the secretary who books them. ( medium hose, lite hose, or tsunani) LOLOLO

    April 17, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ElephentNutts

    @J-7 that would b cool , personaly my favorites are the Tsunami superhose cause thats when I unleash the Beast !..... Oh btw dont you think pilots who sleep at the auto-pilot should be given a RAISE and not disiplined !! It just makes sense ?

    April 17, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jazzzzzzzz

    How much is the Tsunami superhose? Ok, that then I hear by crown to head of the FAA. Have at it.

    April 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
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