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NATCA Updates Senate Committee on Work It's Doing With FAA to Modernize the Air Traffic Control System - (5/10/2001)

WASHINGTON - National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr delivered a simple message to today’s Senate Aviation Subcommittee hearing on aviation delays: We are working harder than ever to be part of the solution.

“Airline delays and cancellations, capacity and access constraints and traffic congestion continue to plague our National Airspace System. Passenger frustration is over the top and customers are unhappy. That’s the bad news,” Carr said. “The good news is the aviation community has stepped up to the plate. NATCA, the Federal Aviation Administration, pilots, airlines, airports and others are working together to develop and implement concrete solutions.”

Carr’s testimony explained many aspects of NATCA’s efforts to support FAA Administrator Jane Garvey’s evolution - not revolution - strategy of build a little, test a little, deploy a little. Carr explained that NATCA’s collaboration with FAA extends to 65 technical projects, which include everything from Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System, Free Flight Phase One and Global Positioning System to Low-Level Windshear Alert System and the Airport Movement Area Safety System, which addresses traffic surveillance on runways and taxiways.

Of significant importance, Carr stressed, is NATCA’s work on the large National Airspace Redesign (NAR) project, which will review, redesign and restructure the national airspace to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of all customers and service providers while maintaining the high standards of safety. NATCA’s NAR Team includes one full-time liaison, 11 regional representatives and about 350 controllers nationwide. NAR has perhaps the greatest potential to help enhance the capacity of the system, aside from efforts to address the most pressing need - more runways. Carr asserted that capacity gains from a new runway far exceed that of improvements in air traffic control technology, although he maintained NATCA is determined to squeeze the most capacity out of the system as possible. Current traffic trends demand such action.

“The United States controls over half the world’s air traffic and NATCA is extremely proud to serve on the front lines of this system, the safest and most sophisticated on the planet,” Carr said. “Air traffic control is an inherently governmental function. We are a service provider dedicated to safety and that’s why we are devoting unprecedented levels of time, staffing and effort toward modernizing the system.”

“Modernization enhances safety and gives us the tools to help handle the immense traffic challenges of the 21st century. There’s a success story brewing here and we want to be part of it.”

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