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FAA's Chief Of Air Traffic Control Has Resigned

Hank Krakowski.
Hank Krakowski.

The "sleeping air traffic controllers" revelations have cost the head of the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control unit his job.

"This morning I met with the head of our Air Traffic Organization, the part of the Federal Aviation Administration charged with operating our air traffic control system," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt says in a statement the agency just posted online. "Hank Krakowski has submitted his resignation and I have accepted it."

As we reported earlier, there have been at least five incidents in recent weeks in which controllers at major airports were sleeping as planes were trying to land.

Update at 11:20 a.m. ET. Krakowski's biography at says that he joined the agency in 2007 after 30 years with United Air Lines, most recently as "vice president of flight operations where he was responsible for flight operations, flight training and standards, technology and labor relations."

He's also "a 737 captain ... an experienced aircraft dispatcher and [is] certified as an airframe and power-plant mechanic."

Update at 10:38 a.m. ET. Babbitt's statement adds that:

"We are conducting a top to bottom review of the way we operate our air traffic control system. We are all responsible and accountable for safety–from senior FAA leadership to the controller in the tower. Employees at the FAA work diligently every day to run the safest air transportation system in the world. But I will continue to make whatever changes are necessary to ensure we concentrate on keeping the traveling public safe."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.