What we’re reading: America’s most delayed airport, 747-8F completes certification flights, firing air-traffic controllers


Newark: America’s most delayed airport
A recent survey by the Wall Street Journal shows that Newark’s Liberty International Airport may be the worst for travelers in North America.

According to a new Wall Street Journal survey, 40 of the 100 most-delayed flights in America either depart from or arrive at the New Jersey hub.

Five of the top ten most frequently delayed flights originate or terminate at Newark and the top two most delayed flights are both Delta routes to Atlanta from the Brick City.

Boeing’s new jumbo freighter completes certification flights

Boeing’s new 747-8F completed its flight certification Wednesday night.

On the 17-hour flight, completing final testing of the jet’s complex systems, the crew took a route that spelled out 747 in jumbo-sized digits across the map of the United States.

The Federal Aviation Adminstration (FAA) must now process the final flight data and complete paperwork to certify the airplane to enter service.

Air-traffic controllers who can’t be fired

Sometimes it is next to impossible to fire air-traffic controllers who are disciplined for poor job performance, even when crashes are involved.

The FAA can have a difficult time firing permanent employees because of a Byzantine government system and decades-old union provisions that allow controllers to delay or block disciplinary action. Employees can ward off punishment or dismissal by challenging proposed penalties before a government agency called the Merit Systems Protection Board. Or they can buy time by invoking a clause in their union contract that lets them demand that their case be taken to an arbitrator.

As a result, it can take months, even years, to settle cases. In 2009 the FAA tried to fire a controller after he tested positive for marijuana. At the time he was already in rehabilitation for an alcohol violation. The controller appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board.