The model-based staffing standards and the staffing ranges described in Chapter 3 are developed by the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Office of Labor Analysis (ALA) to inform an annual hiring plan. The goal of the hiring plan is to move each facility to a level consistent with the staffing range. The Air Traffic Organization (ATO) and ALA then develop an annual staffing plan, including new hires and transfers among existing staff, that serves as the basis for decisions concerning each of FAA’s 315 operational air traffic control (ATC) facilities. The execution of the staffing plans, which results in new hires and transfers and in the placement of personnel among facilities, is carried out by ATO.
This chapter focuses on the methods applied by FAA in its detailed staff planning and execution. In some cases the methods were unclear to the committee; they are analyzed on the basis of FAA data representing typical inputs to the methods and their outputs. The efficacy of staff planning and execution depends on the extent to which the result is consistent with the published controller workforce plan. That measure can change as FAA’s methods change.
The chapter describes how FAA assesses current facility staffing status and explores how FAA develops its hiring and staffing plans. It describes the committee’s understanding of the execution process and illustrates how the number and location of controllers in the workforce compare with the goals of the staffing plan. Potential strategies for improvements in staff planning are noted. The final section summarizes the chapter and gives the committee’s recommendations.
Assessment of Status
Staff planning requires a target and a clear path for reaching it. In concept, plans for individual facilities span at least 3 years to account for losses due to attrition (such as retirements, promotions, and deaths) and the period needed to select, hire, and train personnel to reach full certification, which typically ranges from 1 to 3 years. Achieving the target staffing level over time for a facility requires a good understanding of the current staffing status. ALA uses the head count of certified professional controllers (CPCs) and certified professional controllers in training (CPC-ITs) to assess each facility’s staffing status relative to the staffing range described in Chapter 3. Status is assessed as follows:
• Above range: CPC + CPC-IT is more than 10 percent above the staffing range midpoint.
• Within range: CPC + CPC-IT is within ±10 percent of the staffing range midpoint.
• Below range: CPC + CPC-IT is more than 10 percent below the staffing range midpoint.