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FAA names Grizzle chief of air traffic controllers

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • David Grizzle has been acting chief of the Air Traffic Organization
  • The previous CEO left after reports of several controllers sleeping on the job
  • The FAA says it has taken steps to address fatigue among air traffic controllers

Washington (CNN) -- The senior official who was temporarily in charge of the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic controllers following the "sleeping controller" controversy has been given the job outright.

David Grizzle is assuming the title of chief operating officer of the FAA's Air Traffic Organization, the agency said Thursday.

In April, Grizzle was named acting chief following the departure of Hank Krakowski amid embarrassing reports that several controllers had fallen asleep or watched movies while on the job. In one instance, a controller intentionally napped during his shift.

Since then, the FAA said it has taken steps to address fatigue among the 35,000 air traffic controllers and support personnel, including changing scheduling practices that may contribute to tiredness. Last week, the FAA and the controllers' union announced an agreement that will allow controllers to listen to the radio and read "appropriate printed material" as a fatigue-fighting measure from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., if the workload permits.

The agreement continues to prohibit controllers from sleeping while they are performing assigned duties. While on breaks, controllers "are expected to conduct themselves professionally and be available for recall at all times," the FAA said.

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said Grizzle is the right person for the Air Traffic Organization job.

"David is committed to transparency, accountability and to building a safety culture that encourages collaboration. I am thrilled that he has agreed to accept this critical responsibility," Babbitt said in a written statement.

Before joining the FAA as its chief counsel in 2009, Grizzle worked with Continental Airlines and its affiliates for 22 years.