LeTourneau University is the only university in the state of
Texas, and the only Christian university in the country, approved by the Federal Aviation
Administration to train the next generation of air traffic controllers.
The FAA announced Friday, Oct. 3, that LETU was approved to
participate in the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) program, along with seven other
colleges nationwide. Only 31 universities in the nation have this distinction to offer the
FAA-sanctioned program. LETU plans to start the program in the fall of 2009 with the addition of
one faculty member.
The FAA plans to recruit and hire more than 17,000 new air traffic
controllers over the next 10 years, according to an FAA statement on the program.
Fred Ritchey, dean of LETU’s School of Aeronautical Science says
this program will allow the recruitment of a number of students who previously may not have
attended the school.
“This CTI program continues our move toward our goal to being a
premier, comprehensive aviation program,” Ritchey said. “It fills a need for the industry to
provide quality young men and women of Christian character in roles of leadership where decisions
matter every day.”
Air traffic controllers ensure the safe operation of commercial
and private aircraft and coordinate the movement of air traffic to make certain that planes stay a
safe distance apart. LETU applied to the FAA in March to offer the CTI program.
Over the summer, the school announced the purchase of a new,
53,000 square-foot building at the East Texas Regional Airport, and the fall 2008 semester marked a
record number of more than 260 students enrolled in the aeronautical science program.