Hultgren Calls for Transportation Committee Hearing on Nonsensical FAA Hiring Procedures

FAA Skirts Questions about Air Safety under New, Flawed Process

Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) today called upon Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, to hold a hearing on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) recent decision to suddenly alter its process for hiring air traffic controllers. These new hiring practices have caused the FAA to pass over the most qualified air traffic controller candidates, such as experienced veterans, and have raised concerns of air travel safety. In light of a lack of transparency at the FAA’s actions, and out of concern for airline passenger safety, Congressman Hultgren has introduced the SAFE TOWERS Act. Learn more about the FAA’s recent hiring changes and the SAFE TOWERS Act here.

In his letter to Chairman Shuster, Congressman Hultgren wrote that he believes the American public should have answers and details relating to, among other concerns, the incorporation of a Biographical Questionnaire (BQ), used in the new application process, which:

  • Disqualifies qualified candidates with specialized degrees and military air traffic control experience because of arbitrary multiple choice test questions and responses the FAA deemed ‘wrong.’
  • Does not require applicants to show IDs on-site, or sit in a secured testing site, raising questions of confidence in the fairness of the application process.
  • Does not allow numerous applicants who have ‘failed’ the BQ to reapply for future air traffic controller positions. Applicants did not receive their score, were not informed what score was needed to pass, were not given the metrics used for scoring the BQ, and were thus left in the dark as to how to prepare themselves to reapply for future openings.

Furthermore, an October 2014 report released by the FAA found that the use of BQ data did not adequately contribute to the prediction of air traffic controller success—so why were applicants disqualified under a flawed metric?

Unfortunately, correspondence from the FAA has been thin on details about the FAA’s plans for revising the hiring process moving forward, and how the process purports to enhance aviation safety.

“The agency’s lack of transparency continues to erode my confidence that it places the safety of our skies as a top priority,” said Congressman Hultgren. “The American people need assurance that conditions and processes in place at the FAA remain safe and security-focused.”

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