After last month’s incident at Washington Reagan Airport where two planes landed as the air traffic control tower went silent, The Associated Press reports that an air traffic controller in Nevada fell asleep on the job while a medical plane was landing early Wednesday morning.
The incident at Reno-Tahoe International airport has led the FAA to require a second air traffic controller at 26 additional airports while immediately suspended the sleeping employee.
“This is absolutely unacceptable,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “The American public trusts us to run a safe system. Safety is our No. 1 priority and I am committed to working 24/7 until these problems are corrected.”
It was the second case this week of a controller being suspended for sleeping on the job. A controller at Boeing Field-King County International in Seattle fell asleep during his morning shift on Monday and was suspended, FAA said. He was already facing disciplinary action for sleeping on two separate occasions during an early evening shift in January, the agency said.
Despite the recent mishaps around the country, all planes in each situation were able to land safely but the shocking rise in incidents is causing many to wonder if a major accident relating to an air traffic control mistake isn’t a matter of if, but when.