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FAA Adding Jobs After Controllers Caught Sleeping

VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP (WWJ/AP) – The Federal Aviation Administration said it’s adding a second controller at night at Michigan’s Willow Run Airport and 26 other locations after finding two more cases of controllers sleeping on duty.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the moves Wednesday, hours after a medical flight carrying at least three people landed at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Nevada without assistance because the pilot was unable to raise a controller in the airport tower.

FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro told AnnArbor.com that Willow Run will go from one to two controllers on the overnight shift. The cargo field is in Wayne County’s Van Buren Township, about 25 miles west-southwest of Detroit.

Wayne County Airport Authority spokesman Scott Winter said local officials have been pressing for some time for a staffing increase at Willow Run.

“Though we’re delighted to have this additional investment in our airport, I think it’s important to note too, there have been no recorded incidents of controllers asleep at the switch at either Detroit Metro or Willow Run Airports,” Winter said.

The Associated Press contributes to this report.

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