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NATCA Statement: GAO Report on Aviation Safety - (10/13/2011)

CONTACT: Doug Church, 301-346-8245

WASHINGTON – NATCA President Paul Rinaldi issued the following statement on Thursday’s Government Accountability Office report on aviation safety:

“The air traffic controllers are exceptionally proud of our safety record and we are pleased that the GAO has validated the safety of our system.

“Our collaborative relationship with the FAA includes safety reporting systems, such as the Air Traffic Safety Action Program, and we have been proud to work with a broad group of aviation stakeholders to improve runway safety for the past several years. In fact, just this week, NATCA participated in a runway safety seminar hosted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the FAA and the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA). NATCA also recently served as industry co-chair of the Runway Safety Council.

“The level of communication with the FAA to address safety on our nation’s runways is at a premium.

“The most important piece of the GAO study is this: the ‘FAA has taken several steps to further improve safety at and around airports.’

“We take this report very seriously, and we are working every day to ensure Americans’ safety in the skies. This includes implementing procedural and technological changes to improve runway safety, collecting more data on safety incidents, finding ways to share usable safety information down to the local facility level and shifting toward risk-based analysis of airborne and surface aviation safety information.

“The GAO reports, ‘the nation’s aviation system is arguably the safest in the world.’ We take that even further: our nation’s aviation system IS the safest in the world.”

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The National Air Traffic Controllers Association represents over 20,000 highly skilled controllers, engineers and other safety-related professionals.

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