WASHINGTON - Federal aviation officials say they're adding a second air traffic controller to midnight shifts at 27 airports around the country following the suspensions of controllers at three more airports in Nevada, Washington and Texas.
The incident in Washington happened at Boeing Field on April 11, when an air traffic controller fell asleep during his morning shift. "The controller was monitoring local traffic in the airport tower cab while two other controllers worked arriving and departing aircraft. The FAA is investigating this incident. The controller is already facing disciplinary action for falling asleep on two separate occasions during the early evening shift on January 6, 2011."
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement released Wednesday that an air traffic controller fell asleep at Reno-Tahoe International Airport while a medical flight carrying an ill patient was trying to land at about 2 a.m. The agency said the controller, who was out of communication for about 16 minutes, has been suspended.
The statement said two controllers in Lubbock, Texas, and another in Seattle have also been suspended.
The suspensions come less than a month after two airliners landed without assistance from a lone supervisor who fell asleep at Washington's Reagan National Airport.