Contract weather observers at 121 airports nationwide, whose jobs were in imminent jeopardy, got a temporary reprieve Wednesday.
The FAA said it is deferring action on a plan to shift the responsibility for weather monitoring from the contractors to air traffic controllers.
All the weather observing contracts would be extended through Sept. 30 “to allow for more stakeholder input on how to proceed going forward,” the FAA said.
The original plan, dated March 15, proposed replacing contract weather observers at 121 airports in five rounds between May 1 and August 31, with completion by September 30. Observers at an additional 21 airports would be replaced “in the future” the plan said.
The plan had been estimated to save the agency about $57 million annually.
The contract extension notwithstanding, the FAA said it has already begun to train air traffic controllers on weather observing duties and added air traffic controllers perform this function at more than 300 airports around the country.