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Union: Chronic shortage of air traffic controllers reaches a crisis

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Posted at 12:55 PM, Oct 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-13 12:55:00-04

WASHINGTON -- The union that represents air traffic controllers says a chronic shortage of controllers has reached a crisis that will lead to widespread flight delays if left unchecked.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association said Tuesday that the Federal Aviation Administration has failed to meet its hiring goals for controllers year after year, causing a sharp decline in the number of controllers at a time when air traffic is increasing. Controllers at some of the nation's busiest air traffic facilities have been working six-day weeks for years because of short staffing.

The union is asking Congress to step in.

Union officials say safety isn't at risk, but they acknowledge controllers' work schedules are causing widespread chronic fatigue.

NASA warned the FAA four years ago that controller fatigue was undermining safety.