Air Waves

Controllers debate safety

How safe are the skies? That question was uppermost in the minds of travelers last summer after Ronald Reagan fired 12,000 striking air controllers, leaving supervisors, non-strikers and military controllers to do the job. But as the months passed and 10,500 skywatchers, rather than the previous 17,400, manned the nation's control towers, airports managed to operate without major mishaps or too many exasperating delays. Fear of flying faded fast. Now, although the Federal Aviation Administration strongly disputes them, some controllers are warning that there may still be reason for renewed concern. Says one Atlanta controller: "We need our people...

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