FAA Launching Mandatory ATC Safety Meetings

Monthly safety meetings with the controller workforce are aimed at strengthening proficiency, the agency said.

According to the National Air Traffic Controller Association, staffing levels are at a 30-year low, while two in 10 air traffic controller positions remain unfilled nationwide. [FLYING file photo]

The FAA said it is launching a monthly mandatory safety meeting with air traffic controllers in order to strengthen proficiency.

The announcement is the latest agency response following a string of close calls at U.S. airports in recent months.

The "Stand Up for Safety" meetings, scheduled to begin in July, will be conducted in person and in collaboration with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the FAA said Wednesday.

“To reach our goal of zero close calls, everyone must stay sharp,” Tim Arel, FAA’s air traffic organization chief operating officer, said in a statement. “This training will give us an opportunity to focus on safety with our entire workforce.” 

According to the FAA, topics of the monthly meetings will be data driven and tackle seasonal challenges. 

"[Initial] topics will include airfield safety to help cover several items to reduce events on the surface," the agency said. "The campaign kickoff will also include Voluntary Safety Reporting Program training to identify potential safety hazards and ensure corrective actions are taken."  

The meeting series is the latest initiative launched by the agency aimed at improving aviation safety. Last month, the FAA announced investing $100 million for projects aimed at preventing runway incursions at a dozen U.S. airports.

The agency has also named an independent review team charged with presenting safety recommendations.

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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