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DOT to audit FAA staffing challenges after Southwest Airlines chaos
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The federal Department of Transportation’s inspector general will audit hiring and staffing challenges at the Federal Aviation Administration after Southwest Airlines blamed mass cancellations over the weekend on a shortage of air traffic controllers.
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
Matthew Hampton, assistant inspector general for aviation audits, issued a memo Tuesday announcing the audit, which he said would "assist FAA’s efforts" to keep air traffic control fully staffed and continue training new hires amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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"Since the pandemic started, controllers at numerous air traffic control facilities have tested positive for COVID-19, leading to partial shutdowns of towers and radar control facilities and impacting staffing and training operations," the memo said. "Moreover, with veteran controllers leaving for various reasons, including retirements, and increased training demands, FAA faces the challenge of ensuring it has the required number of controllers."