FAA spokesman Basye said it is a good market for hiring and that the FAA is confident it can replace controllers on a timely basis.
Vella says it can take 12 to 15 months for an air controller with military training to be fully certified for TRACON responsibilities and that fresh college graduates need up to three years of training.
"I just don't see how they are going to fill the positions and that concerns me," he said.
It also concerns Boyd.
"Every upgrade of their systems and operations that the FAA has tackled in recent years has failed," he said. "The air traffic control system is in chaos, but it's not because of the controllers. But FAA has buffaloed the public into believing that."
Boyd said Administrator Marion Blakey is leading the FAA down the wrong path and that maintaining a strong contingent of air traffic controllers is imperative.
"You don't want to wait for a plane crash to do something about your operational problems," he said. "You need to address those now. Blakey is simply making things worse."
The FAA has approved 268 air traffic controller spots operating from the Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Center near San Diego. The center, known as TRACON, has filled just 217 of those...
Closure Concerns Officials; Air Traffic Control: Members of Congress and Others Don't Want a Desert Center Shuttered
Officials plan to move Palm Springs International ATC to a centralized facility more than 100 miles away
The Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees the operation, counters that the coming change is a simple consolidation that'll save millions of dollars and won't impact safety in the slightest.
Overtime payments for air traffic controllers have more than doubled at the TRACON facility in Peachtree City, a fact that controllers argue bolsters their complaints of chronic understaffing...