By Keith Laing - 04/26/11 03:16 PM EDT
Another air traffic controller suspected of having fallen asleep on the job has been fired by the Federal Aviation Administration, the agency announced late Monday night.
The controller, who was not named, had been accused of falling asleep on shifts on Jan. 6 and April 11 at Seattle's Boeing Field Airport, the FAA said. The employee, as well as well as two others who have been dismissed, will have "a due process right to respond" to the actions, the FAA said.
Federal transportation officials have worked to show they are responding quickly to a spate of incidents involving air traffic controllers suspected of either being asleep on the job or making serious errors. One high-profile incident involved a plane carrying first lady Michelle Obama. Another controller was suspended for reportedly watching movies on the job after the audio of the film was picked up by a military plane.
Several scientists and the leader of National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), the union for controllers, have proposed allowing them to take authorized naps while working overnight shifts to reduce fatigue. Thus far, however, Department of Transportation officials have agreed only to extend by an hour the time controllers are required to have between shifts.
DoT has also said it would end single-person overnight shifts in flight towers.