FAA switches up management as part of air controller review

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is making more management changes in response to a string of reports of air traffic controllers sleeping on the job.

The agency said Friday it is bringing in veterans to lead divisions responsible for take-offs and landings as well as planes in flight. It is also bringing in a new manager at the Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center, where a controller and a manager were suspended after the controller was caught watching a movie on the job.

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The changes mark the biggest shake-ups yet since the FAA announced that at least seven controllers had been suspended and three fired. The manager at the facility that prematurely approved a plane carrying first lady Michelle Obama was also changed recently.

The FAA said it was reviewing its mid-level flight control facility managers as well.

“We are continuing to do everything in our power to ensure that our nation’s aviation system remains the safest in the world," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "This is just the beginning of the process to make sure we have the best possible team in place."

“The FAA’s focus is safety," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt added. "These changes ensure that we have the right people in the right places to help us carry out our mission. I am confident our top-to-bottom review is making our air traffic system even safer.”