WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) — After reports nationwide of air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job, the Allegheny County Airport is on a list of 27 airports where the FAA will add an extra controller overnight.
Previously, there was only one controller in the tower overnight at the airport in West Mifflin, but there’s never been any problem here.
“We’ve had no safety or landing, take-off, aircraft operation issues at either Allegheny County Airport or Pittsburgh International Airport,” said JoAnn Jenny, Allegheny County Airport Authority spokesperson.
The change comes after frightening stories elsewhere. Early Wednesday, an air ambulance with a sick patient on board called the control tower in Reno, Nev., seven times, but the controller had fallen asleep. There have been three other incidents of controllers falling asleep recently at other airports.
There will be no changes at Pittsburgh International, where an FAA spokesperson says four controllers already work overnight and a fifth works part of that shift.
As for the change at the airport in West Mifflin, Jenny says, “I think it will increase the safety factor, and I also think because of the nature of this issue and how it’s exploded, if you will, across the country, the FAA had to act quickly.”
She says overnight is not a busy time at the Allegheny County Airport. However, there are some corporate and medical flights.
The FAA says no one will be hired to make the change. Instead, current controllers schedules will be switched.