Feds plan to hire 6,000 air traffic controllers

Feds plan to hire 6,000 air traffic controllers
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is looking to hire a few good air traffic controllers to boost the nation's flight navigation system. 

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said Monday that the agency is holding a "virtual career fair" from March 23-28 as it seeks to start filling 6,000 air traffic controller over the next five years. 

Huerta said in a blog post on the Transportation Department's website that air traffic controller position is an attractive post for potential job seekers. 

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"The Air Traffic Control Specialist’s job isn’t just any other day in the office," he wrote. "It's a career where you’ll have the chance to save lives through proactive approaches to aviation safety. You’ll also operate new procedures that enhance efficiency and emissions, which help protect our environment. 

"This is the most exciting time in FAA’s history," the FAA chief continued.  "We operate the busiest and most complex airspace system in the world, and decisions we’re making today will shape aviation for decades to come." 

The hiring plan comes as Congress is set to face a deadline for extending the FAA's federal funding in September. 

The deadline regarding the agency has flown under the radar in Washington as talk has focused on federal highway funding, but the FAA's hiring plan could be impacted by the lack of an extension. 

Huerta said the new workers would be necessary to help with the FAA's development of a new satellite-based airplane system known as NextGen and prepares for the addition of nonmilitary drones to the nation's airspace. 

"We’re working to safely integrate commercial space operations and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the airspace," Huerta wrote. "The next generation of aviation innovation is happening now as we shift to smarter, satellite-based, digital technologies to manage our national airspace. As an Air Traffic Controller, you’ll be center-stage in operating the National Airspace System."