This is good to know as well as spooky stuff from Senator Charles Schumer: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark air traffic control towers are understaffed by 30%. Newark has 29, when it should have 40 air traffic controllers; JFK and LaGuardia each require 36, but JFK has 30 and LaGuardia only has 27. That sounds really great, especially since NYC had the worst airport delays of any airports in the country.
Schumer says that the FAA should increase the FAA's budget and restore other money for recruiting outlays. Apparently "cutbacks in overtime pay for controllers substituting for absent co-worker" have led to many retirements, and coupled with low starting salaries, they may be fewer air traffic controllers in the future. The FAA claims that there are no problems recruiting and that the air traffic control retirements were because traffic declined after September 11.