Letters to the Editor

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HOLIDAYS: Travelers enjoy a safer trip

Letter by Isabel Cole, Seattle on Dec. 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm with No Comments »
December 20, 2011 2:21 pm

For air traffic controllers like me, this is the busy season. Luckily, the year so far has been a good one for air flight. In fact, the last few years have shown real progress in the skies.

As you and your families fly on vacation, here are three reasons to feel better about air travel this year:

• More controllers are on the job: The number of fully certified air traffic controllers increased by 3.9 percent this year.

• Runways are safer than ever: The number of serious runway incidents is down 72 percent since 2008. Last year, there were only six serious incidents. That’s just 0.12 per million flights.

• Major steps have been taken to reduce controller fatigue: There are now at least two controllers on duty at all times. Schedule adjustments have been made, allowing for more rest between shifts, as well as increased fatigue awareness and training.

Happy holidays!

(Cole is a National Air Traffic Controllers Association facility representative at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport air traffic control tower.)

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