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NATCA Celebrates International Day of the Air Traffic Controller - (10/20/2010)

CONTACT:  Doug Church, 301-346-8245

WASHINGTON – Members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association today are joining their colleagues from around the world in proudly celebrating the “International Day of the Air Traffic Controller,” in addition to marking the start of the 50th anniversary of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Associations (IFATCA).

IFATCA was founded through an abiding passion for air traffic control and flight safety that continues to exist in the hearts and minds of all air traffic controllers. The response to the idea of a federation was immediate and universal. From its founding on October 20, 1961, IFATCA has grown to 134 member associations representing more than 50,000 air traffic controllers worldwide.

“NATCA is very excited to mark this special occasion and immensely proud to represent the air traffic controllers and many other safety-related professionals who work and maintain our National Airspace System and feel a special bond to our brothers and sisters from IFATCA-represented organizations,” NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said. “Air traffic controllers are highly-trained, highly-skilled professionals who pride themselves on a relentlessly determined and focused approach to ensuring the safety of every flight around the globe.”

IFATCA, in a press release issued today, stated, “Aviation, as the backbone of society, has become an integral part of many peoples lives but the profession of air traffic control is often still unknown, misunderstood, underestimated or unfairly linked with the consequences of accidents, delays and industrial actions resulting in mostly negative press and a wrong perception in the public. Seldom enough do the air traffic controllers receive the deserved attention for the many flight safely handled, for the thousands of passengers expeditiously guided through busy skies and the challenges we live with in times of increased economic and social pressure.

“For decades our profession has developed from - at many places still used - pen and paper (strips) to highly automated complex electronic networks. This evolution would not have been possible without the structured, motivated and continuous input of the professionals we are.

“When we celebrate 20th of October each year, we celebrate the vision of our founding members, and we celebrate the countless volunteers who work to achieve the aims of our Federation. But most of all we celebrate the individual air traffic controller, wherever he works or under whatever conditions she works, who strives each minute to give the utmost in service to the flying public, to bring you safely and efficiently to your destination. Today we recognize our efforts, salute our accomplishments, and renew our mission of service through an industry that is at the heart of a global community.”

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