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.