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Bipartisan Bill Introduced in House to Prevent Air Traffic Control Privatization - (4/11/2003)

WASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association applauds the bipartisan team in the House of Representatives for introducing H.R. 1711 yesterday, a bill which would prohibit the privatization or contracting out of the nation’s federal air traffic control system. Called the “Air Traffic Control System Integrity Act of 2003,” National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr praised the bill as “a bold and critical step to preserve the safety and integrity of the world’s best system and ensuring this country maintains its role as the world leader in air traffic control.”

Four senior members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Subcommittee on Aviation introduced the bipartisan bill: Rep. James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., ranking Democratic member on the full committee; Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., chairman of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation; Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Aviation; and Rep. Jack Quinn, R-N.Y., chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads.

The bill would prevent the Department of Transportation from authorizing the conversion of any Federal Aviation Administration facility or the outsourcing of work currently performed by FAA employees in the ATC system to private or public entities other than the U.S. government.

“We have said aviation safety is neither a Republican nor Democratic issue and this bill proves that with its bipartisan support,” Carr stated. “The bill’s sponsors have shown great leadership on this and many other matters of aviation safety. Obviously, we have long shared their view that the safety of air travelers in this country is too important to ever be jeopardized by the risks of privatization or contracting out. Safety remains controllers’ business.”

Said Oberstar in a statement: “Should we risk the uncertainties of creating a new system to promote ATC safety and security when we already have in place a system with an outstanding safety record? The answer is simple: No.”

“Air traffic control is a critical component of our nation’s aviation system,” LoBiondo added. “Its reliability and security should remain in the hands of the outstanding professionals who have made our skies the safest in the world.” Remarked Quinn: "The safety of airline passengers exceeds the desire to streamline the role of the air traffic controller."


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