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Supplemental FAA Funding Must Be Declared Emergency Spending or Air Travel May Be Severely Impacted, Controllers Warn - (7/24/2002)

WASHINGTON - Faced with the looming threat of furloughed air traffic controllers by the end of September, which would result in severe disruption of air travel, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association today strongly urged the Bush Administration to declare “emergency spending” money already appropriated by Congress for the Federal Aviation Administration.
“We are happy Congress has taken up the emergency supplemental bill and the $75 million for the FAA is of great importance,” NATCA President John Carr said. “Without that $75 million, the FAA must begin furloughing controllers. It is imperative that the administration declare this section of the bill as emergency spending.” Without that declaration, that money won’t be available to the FAA and the consequences, Carr warned, would be devastating to the entire country.

“The aviation community and the national economy just cannot take this kind of a hit after everything that’s happened since Sept. 11,” Carr said. “FAA Administrator Jane Garvey spoke yesterday about the importance of air travel to this nation and stated one in seven U.S. jobs are related to aviation or travel. We call on the administration to immediately declare this money as essential.”

A furlough order would mean sidelining a controller for up to eight days before the end of the fiscal year - Sept. 30 - taking them away from a job that is already straining to meet the demands of the system and in need of increased staffing, both now and in the future to take over for an expected wave of retiring controllers.

“Even now, we don’t have enough controllers to cover the needs of the system without overtime. This is a very, very serious situation which demands swift attention to ensure our air traffic control system is not disrupted, which would be an unacceptable blow to the country,” Carr remarked.

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