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Statement by NATCA President John Carr on Congressional Action on Controller Staffing - (11/20/2004)

Statement by National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr on Congressional Action on Air Traffic Controller Staffing:

"In fiscal year 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration lost more than 500 air traffic controllers, but only hired 13 because it lacked funding. That simply is not acceptable to the flying public. Fewer eyes on the skies mean delays, congestion and safety concerns."

"The $9.5 million approved today by Congress is a much needed down payment on a large problem. While it is good news that Congress has given the FAA new money to hire and train controllers, considerably more resources will be needed if FAA is to address the serious staffing crisis facing our nation. Many of our critical air traffic control facilities across the country are already short-staffed. And the FAA administrator herself has said that we are looking at a 'tsunami wave of retirements.'"

"As public servants whose only mission is to guide passengers home safely, we thank members of the House and Senate for helping us stay true to this mission. We call upon the FAA and new Congress to work with us in 2005 to make sure that we have enough highly trained, qualified controllers watching our skies today and in the future. Today’s action gets the process started, but we’re a long way from the finish line."

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