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Head of Air Traffic Organization Resigns Head of Air Traffic Organization Resigns

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Homepage (Subscribers) / Transportation

Head of Air Traffic Organization Resigns

The control tower at Reagan National Airport. A plane was forced to land there without guidance last month because the controller on duty was asleep.(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The head of the Air Traffic Organization resigned on Thursday following a series of reports of air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job. Hank Krakowski had been the head of ATO since October 2007.

Federal Aviation Administration chief Randy Babbitt said in a statement that “examples of unprofessional conduct on the part of a few individuals... have rightly caused the traveling public to question our ability to ensure their safety.”

On Wednesday, a plane landed at Reno-Tahoe International Airport with the help of a California-based radar controller amid reports that the Nevada controller had fallen asleep. The controller was suspended and the case is under investigation, The Washington Post reports. The Post said this was the fifth such incident this year.

 

Last month, a plane at Reagan National Airport was forced to land without tower assistance; a controller later admitted he had been napping on the job.

Officials on Wednesday ended the practice of having only one controller on duty during overnight shifts, and a review of the air traffic control system is in the works, Babbitt said.

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