Aviation Admin official accused of working while drunk

Aviation Admin official accused of working while drunk

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By the CNN Wire Staff

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a Colorado air traffic controller for “the possibility of” working while intoxicated.

During a routine, random test, the veteran controller was found to have a blood-alcohol level exceeding the allowed limit, the FAA said Tuesday.

FAA spokeswoman Sasha Johnson said in a statement that “the controller in question is not working air traffic” and that the FAA is “investigating the incident.”

CNN affiliate KMGH reported that the test took place July 5, when the controller was more than six hours into his eight-hour shift.

He works at the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center in Longmont, also known as Denver Center, KMGH reported. Denver Center handles air traffic over several states. It does not land planes at busy Denver International Airport.

A family member told KMGH that the controller was given a choice to either resign or enter a rehabilitation program, and that he chose rehab.

Since no aircraft incidents were involved, the controller has not been charged with a federal crime, KMGH reported, adding that the controller could eventually return to his job.

Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association — the union representing controllers — called the incident “deeply troubling.”

“We do not condone what is now being investigated to have taken place at Denver Center,” Rinaldi said in a statement. “We are proud of our safety record both there and at every facility and will continue to work to keep our airspace system the world’s safest.”

Earlier this year, a slew of incidents involving air traffic controllers falling asleep on duty sparked widespread calls for reform and increased oversight. Hank Krakowski, who was the FAA’s air traffic control chief, resigned in April.

 

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