FAA administrator and union chief to tour flight control facilities

They say their message will be that the FAA has done its part by requiring at least nine hours between shifts, so controllers must do their part and stay awake on the job.

“Research shows us that giving people the chance for even an additional one hour of rest during critical periods in a schedule can improve work performance and reduce the potential for fatigue,” Babbitt said in a statement. “Taking advantage of the time you have to rest is also a professional responsibility.”

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the message would also be that there is zero tolerance for falling asleep at the switchboard. Seven air traffic controllers have been suspended in recent weeks after incidents at airports across the country.

“We expect controllers to come to work rested and ready to work and take personal responsibility for safety in the control towers. We have zero tolerance for sleeping on the job,” LaHood said in a statement. “Safety is our top priority and we will continue to make whatever changes are necessary.”

The first stop on Babbitt and Rinaldi's tour, dubbed the "Call to Action," will be Monday in Atlanta. The FAA said it would review air training controllers' training and job requirements and the NATCA said it would expand its professional standards program.