SACRAMENTO, Calif. — There were no air traffic controllers that showed up to work at the tower at Sacramento Executive Airport on Tuesday, June 14.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), air traffic controllers "provide a vital public service to guide pilots, their planes, and 2.7 million daily passengers from taxi to takeoff, through the air, and back safely on the ground".
It's an important job, but aviation businesses are seeing air traffic controller shortages, both locally and nationally.
At Sacramento Executive Airport, the operation tower is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and usually, there are about two to three people staffing the control tower.
However, most people who use Sacramento Executive Airport are fine without a controller, Scott Johnston, spokesperson for Sacramento County Department of Airports, told ABC10.
The only time air traffic is impacted when there are no controllers on duty is when pilots want to do certain things or practice, which typically requires an air traffic controller.
Johnston also described an air traffic controller as just an extra set of eyes, meaning they don't really impact people individually. It is more of a nationwide staffing shortage at non-federally staffed airports.
Last year, many flights were canceled due to staffing shortages at airports. There was a variety of reasons for these staffing shortages such as employees contracting COVID-19 and low staffing on pilots, flight attendants and air traffic controllers.
This local staffing problem has slowly become part of a nationwide staffing shortage, and local airports like Sacramento Executive Airport are being impacted.
ABC10 reached out to Serco, the company that runs the air traffic control tower at Sacramento Executive Airport. The inquiry was not immediately returned.
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