WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says that while the government won’t pay air traffic controllers to take naps while on duty, federal officials are open to other options to ensure aviation safety.

KNX Aviation Analyst Charles Feldman talked with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood

LaHood tells CBS’s “The Early Show” that federal officials “take very seriously” their obligation to solve the problem of sleeping controllers.

The scandal prompted the resignation last week of the FAA official responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the 15,000 air traffic controllers at more than 400 airports.

The biggest airports, including in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, have more than one controller on duty at all times. But some of those have not been immune to problems, including Miami, where one of 12 controllers on duty one night was found sleeping.

Lahood says “controllers have to make sure that they get the right rest and they come to work rested.” LaHood announced earlier that the FAA was adding an hour to the minimum amount of time controllers must be off between shifts.

He said that under the new plan, when controllers report for work, “hopefully they’re rested.” LaHood also said officials will tour airport towers this week to discuss the problems of sleeping on the job with controllers.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  1. Saber 1 says:

    Please don’t bring back the Union Air Traffic Controllers, there were more air accidents vs the non union controllers. The union controllers were always on break and leaving right on time regardless of air traffic or not.

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