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U.S. seeing big exodus of air traffic controllers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Far more veteran air traffic controllers than the government expected have retired since the Bush administration imposed a contract on their union on Labor Day 2006, new data show.

While veteran controllers bail out in unprecedented numbers and air travelers experience record delays, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a series of all-is-well pronouncements about its work force.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, by contrast, has produced a stream of warnings about safety risks to the public from overworked controllers in major air control centers it says are undermanned.