Air traffic controllers will still be alone at McCarran

CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Despite an incident that left airline pilots, those in the air and on the ground, in the dark last week at the nation’s eighth busiest airport, the Federal Aviation Administration will not augment staffing at McCarran International Airport’s air traffic tower.

A source says the air traffic controller who became incapacitated for 40 minutes while alone in the tower is no longer employed. She has not been identified. But the policy that left the woman alone while her co-worker took a break will not be eliminated. Instead, the “alone time” won’t occur until later in the overnight shift.

Currently, the FAA requires that two controllers work until traffic levels allow one to take a break.  That break will now occur later, after midnight or 90 minutes after the start of the shift, whichever is later, according to a source.  The policy went into effect Friday.

Airport officials were not available for comment on the Veterans Day holiday.

The national union for air traffic controllers declined to comment beyond pledging their assistance in the investigation.

Dana Gentry
Reporter | Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana is the mother of four adult children, three cats, three dogs and a cockatoo.


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