Air Traffic Control: We Have a Problem

04/24/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The New York air traffic system is the busiest air system in the United States with more than 107 million passengers each year. We have 5,000 flights a day departing or arriving in the area.

Unfortunately, we do not have enough air traffic controllers to handle all these flights. According to theHomeland Security Newswire, we should have more than 270 controllers available with at least 60 on duty at any one time. We now only have 158 fully qualified controllers -- that is dangerously low. During bad weather, we need even more controllers to handle the delayed, circling aircraft.

Having stressed and overworked controllers is a recipe for disaster. NY must find a way to increase the pool of controllers quickly.

What could be a solution to this problem? I recommend a two-pronged approach:

Immediate recruitment and relocation from other regions - let's offer benefits and relocation costs to entice trained controllers to the area to meet the immediate need for at least 30 more controllers.

Ramp up training programs with local universities and training institutes. With unemployement at record highs let's train New Yorkers for these high-paying jobs.

Let's fix this now, before we have a plane fall from the sky in mid-air collision.