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Controllers Take to the Airways to Talk About Capacity Issues, Criticize Privatization Ideas - (3/13/2001)

WASHINGTON – On the heels of its very successful advertising campaign to raise awareness about the highly-skilled profession of air traffic control, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association is now addressing the need for concrete solutions to the problem of congestion and delays in a pair of television advertisements now airing on the CNN Airport Network.

And by concrete solutions, NATCA President John S. Carr means just that – concrete being poured in the form of more runways at the nation’s busiest airports. Capacity constraints are resulting in more delayed flights as the U.S. system works to meet the unprecedented demand for air travel. Runway space for the overwhelming numbers of scheduled flights is dwindling, which means system capacity should be the immediate focus of those seeking solutions to air travel problems.

As the following text of NATCA’s advertisements suggests, privatization should not be considered because it puts business interests ahead of safety and does not address the capacity crisis currently facing the U.S. air traffic control system.

COMMERCIAL #1

JOHN CARR: The steady increase in air traffic has been a challenge for everyone. And believe me, we’re as tired of flight delays as you are. But selling our air traffic system to the highest bidder and putting safety at risk is not a solution. By constructing just 50 miles of new runways, we can solve most of our nation’s air traffic problems. Delays are caused by congestion on the ground, not in the air. We must continue to improve our current system while making concrete investments in our future. That’s a solution we can all live with.

COMMERCIAL #2

JOHN CARR: No one hates delayed flights more than we do.
CAPT. ANDY DEANE, AIR LINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION: The steady increase in air traffic has been a real challenge for everyone.
CARR: We’re modernizing the system every day. It doesn’t need to be privatized, or sold off to the highest bidder, as some have suggested.
DEANE: Our system is the safest in the world because high standards are consistent across the country. CARR: And it’s part of the federal government, where it should stay.
DEANE: So that safety will always come first.
CARR: Air traffic controllers. We guide you home.


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