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NATIONAL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ASSOCIATION (NATCA)

For Immediate Release

July 7, 2016

Contact: Doug Church, 301-346-8245

NATCA Urges Passage of FAA Authorization Extension that Addresses Air Traffic Controller Staffing Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) is urging Congress to pass an extension of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization, which extends funding to the end of fiscal year 2017 and includes language that would help address the air traffic controller staffing crisis. The following is a statement by NATCA:

“NATCA would like to thank Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune and Ranking Member Bill Nelson, and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio for their leadership in bringing this extension to the threshold of passage.

“The number of fully certified controllers working today is at a 27-year low, a crisis made worse by FAA’s inability to meet its own hiring goals in each of the last seven years. NATCA believes FAA must take a holistic, collaborative approach to resolving these staffing concerns. If passed, the extension as drafted would streamline the hiring process by allowing experienced controllers to be hired quickly; military veterans and graduates of schools in FAA’s Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) would also be hired more expeditiously. CTI graduates and veterans would be considered in a separate pool from the general public. The extension would also increase the maximum entry age for a controller with 52 weeks experience to 35 years of age, another provision we applaud. Similar language sponsored by Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Sean Patrick Maloney in H.R. 5292 has received strong bipartisan support, with 237 co-sponsors.

“While NATCA considers the extension a good start that provides certainty through the end of the next fiscal year, our preference is for a full, long-term reauthorization with stable, predictable funding that ends both sequestration and the stop-and-go funding that has harmed the National Airspace System (NAS). NATCA is sincerely concerned that anything shorter than the proposed 14-month extension would severely hamper the FAA’s ability to adequately hire new employees and would only exacerbate the effects of stop-and-go authorization and funding on the NAS that we have experienced in recent years.”

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