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News Archive 2004

"Safety in Numbers" - New NATCA Online Feature Explores Severity of Staffing Crisis, Proposes Solutions
Wed, Dec 22, 2004

During a year in which the Federal Aviation Administration lost more than 500 air traffic controllers and hired just 13, air travel has continued to grow to a point where 15 of the nation's 35 largest airports are now at pre-Sept. 11, 2001 traffic volume levels. Doing more with less continues to emerge as a dangerous theme for the U.S. air traffic control system.


Yes, Virginia, There is an Air Traffic Controller Staffing Crisis
Tue, Dec 21, 2004

Confirming what controllers have been saying for years, the Federal Aviation Administration today released their long-awaited report to Congress stating that there is a looming air traffic control staffing crisis. The fact is that in some cities, the shortage is already occurring. Consequently, if you are flying to or through one of these cities, there are already too few controllers watching the skies.


NATCA Holiday Travel Forecast: Delays, Congestion Inevitable Without More Aggressive FAA Action
Tue, Nov 23, 2004

As millions of Americans take to the skies this holiday season, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association is calling upon the Federal Aviation Administration to work with the new Congress to address the delays and congestion that will be facing our nation’s airports this holiday season and in the days and years to come.


Statement by NATCA President John Carr on Congressional Action on Controller Staffing
Sat, Nov 20, 2004

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


Bush Administration Errors Again in Leaving Mac Labor Seat Cold
Mon, Oct 25, 2004

In a stinging, backhanded slap to the face of transportation labor just eight days before the presidential election, the Bush Administration has appointed three new members to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council (MAC) while once again deliberately leaving the seat for a union representative vacant.


Courageous, Determined Effort to Fix Hurricane Damage to Pensacola TRACON Results in Its Quick Reopening
Fri, Oct 15, 2004

Less than a month after Hurricane Ivan ravaged the far western Florida Panhandle region, tearing the roof off the Pensacola Terminal Radar Approach Control facility and drenching computers, radar scopes and communications equipment, a team of air traffic controllers, technicians, airways facilities and other Federal Aviation Administration employees have restored the TRACON to near full operational status.


New NATCA Interactive Feature Takes a Fresh, Personal Look at the Controllers Who Ensure Safety of Aviation System
Fri, Oct 8, 2004

Thousands of air traffic controllers work in front of radar scopes in dark, windowless rooms away from the airport, in addition to the glass-enclosed control tower cabs that many air travelers associate most with controllers’ jobs. But what do controllers feel are the best and worst parts of their job? What made them decide to become an air traffic controller? What’s the most challenging situation they’ve ever had to handle?


Embarrassing FAA Report on Chicago TRACON Operation Fails to Address Staffing Crisis That is Leading to Delay, Safety Problems
Mon, Oct 4, 2004

Nearly eight months after spending a month investigating staffing issues, delays, errors and air traffic controller workload at the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control facility, the Federal Aviation Administration has released its final report – an embarrassing, 12-paragraph, 703-word, memo-like statement that does extraordinarily little to protect the safety of the flying public.


Runway Safety Technology Deployment at Risk Due to FAA's Short-Sighted Budget Cuts
Thu, Sep 23, 2004

Turning a blind eye to one of its very own performance goals, the Federal Aviation Administration is dramatically slowing the deployment of a key piece of equipment designed to reduce the threat of runway accidents, providing more proof that the agency’s haphazard cuts to its modernization budget are affecting aviation safety.


Air Traffic Controllers Take to the Airwaves to Warn of Looming Staffing Crisis
Mon, Sep 20, 2004

With the Federal Aviation Administration and the Government Accountability Office predicting severe air traffic control staffing shortages of up to 50 percent over the next decade, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association has unveiled a new advertising campaign to raise awareness of this serious problem throughout the country.


Statement: NATCA President John Carr on Congressional Action on Air Traffic Controller Staffing Shortage
Tue, Sep 14, 2004

As public servants, air traffic controllers across the country have been alerting the public and our elected officials to the looming staffing crisis.


NATCA Warns against Extending Air Traffic Controller Retirement Age A Dangerous Solution to Staffing Crisis
Mon, Sep 13, 2004

In testimony on Tuesday, Sept. 14, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association will warn against lifting the mandatory retirement age of 56 for air traffic controllers.


Statement by NATCA President John Carr Commenting on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Action on the Hiring and Training of Air Traffic Controllers
Fri, Sep 10, 2004

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury and General Government has moved the ball forward in providing much needed funding for hiring and training new air traffic controllers. NATCA applauds the leadership and support of Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., in getting $10 million into the Senate bill.


Air Traffic Controllers Warn That Local Staffing Shortages Have Serious Implications for National Air Traffic System
Thu, Aug 26, 2004

Following the steady drumbeat that the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has been sounding since May, controllers across the country continued to warn the public and lawmakers that our nation is facing a staffing shortage of major concern in the coming years, stressing that in some cities the shortage is already evident, with serious implications for the future of our national air traffic system.


Bush Administration Officials Refuse to Allow Children of Puerto Rico-Based Employees to Start School
Wed, Aug 25, 2004

In a stinging rebuke to the Bush Administration, the Federal Labor Relations Authority has issued a charge against the Federal Aviation Administration for abandoning American children of FAA employees in Puerto Rico. The case clearly contradicts the administration’s “No Child Left Behind” policy.


Controllers Accept O'Hare Flight Caps in the Interest of Safety but Decry FAA's Lack of Attention to Staffing Crisis
Wed, Aug 18, 2004

Air traffic controllers in Chicago today said they accept the announced flight restrictions at O’Hare International Airport in the interest of safety, but urged the Federal Aviation Administration to pay as much attention to the rapidly deteriorating staffing situation at the major Chicago air traffic control facilities as the agency has in addressing the problem of flight delays.


Statement by National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr on House Appropriations Committee Action on Staffing
Thu, Jul 22, 2004

Commenting on the House Appropriations Committee's Funding $9 Million for the Hiring and Training of Air Traffic Controllers.


Air Traffic Controllers Warn That Staffing Shortage Could Lead to Delays, Congestion, Safety Concerns
Wed, Jul 21, 2004

Washington – As the FAA conducts a series of information sessions today to address the looming air traffic control staffing crisis, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) continued to warn the public and lawmakers that our nation is facing a staffing shortage of major concern in the coming years and again stressed that thousands of new controllers need to be hired and trained.


Controllers Urge House Appropriations Committee to Make Necessary Investment in Safety of Our Skies
Wed, Jul 14, 2004

As the House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee prepares for tomorrow’s scheduled session to mark up a spending bill for next year, air traffic controllers today are again imploring lawmakers to make sure that the safety of our skies is protected by providing $14 million to the FAA to begin hiring and training more air traffic controllers.


NATCA Urges House Appropriations to Include $14 Million in Funding Bill for Hiring New Controllers
Tue, Jul 13, 2004

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association today urged House lawmakers about to decide on Federal Aviation Administration funding for fiscal year 2005 to address the looming air traffic control staffing crisis and approve $14 million for the training and hiring of new controllers as a first step toward solving the problem.


Statement by NATCA President John Carr on House Hearing Investigating June 9 Incident Within Washington ADIZ
Thu, Jul 8, 2004

“On June 9, as is true each and every day, federal air traffic controllers were extremely vigilant in their duties. They were in contact with the Kentucky governor’s aircraft and knew the plane’s transponder was not working. They followed their training and procedures by alerting their Federal Aviation Administration supervisors.”


Costa Rican Government Action Leads to Unsafe Skies over Central America
Tue, Jul 6, 2004

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association today condemned the actions of the Costa Rican government in its decision to lock out the Central American nation’s air traffic controller workforce.


Philadelphia Air Traffic Controllers Warn That Staffing Crisis Could Lead to Delays, Congestion
Fri, Jul 2, 2004

Philadelphia air traffic controller Don Chapman said today that without action from Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration to address a worsening staffing shortage, the result will be delays, congestion and a decreased margin for safety.


Controllers Warn House Aviation Subcommittee: Looming Staffing Crisis Could Result in Delays, Congestion, Safety Concerns
Tue, Jun 15, 2004

National Air Traffic Controllers Association Executive Vice President Ruth Marlin told the House Aviation Subcommittee today of the urgent need to begin funding the hiring of new controllers in the fiscal year 2005 budget to address a looming shortage nationwide, warning there is “no other way around this problem. The consequences of inaction are dire.”


Air Traffic Controllers Go to Capitol Hill to Shed Spotlight on Looming Staffing Crisis
Fri, May 14, 2004

Hundreds of air traffic controllers from across the country will descend on Capitol Hill on May 17-18 for their annual legislative conference and Hill visits with a singular message for their respective members of Congress: We must act now to hire and train more controllers to avert a looming shortage which the General Accounting Office, Department of Transportation Inspector General and Federal Aviation Administration all agree is real and imminent.


Senator Lautenberg and New Jersey Air Traffic Controllers Warn That Staffing Crisis Could Lead to Delays, Congestion
Fri, May 14, 2004

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Newark Tower Air Traffic Controller Russ Halleran said today that without action from Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration to address a worsening staffing shortage, the result will be delays, congestion and a decreased margin for safety.


Controllers Urge Congress to Address Staffing Crisis
Wed, Apr 21, 2004

WASHINGTON - The National Air Traffic Controllers Association is urging the Senate Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee to discuss with FAA Administrator Marion Blakey the looming air traffic control staffing crisis when she testifies before the Committee on Thursday.


FAA Tests STARS Fix on Live Traffic in Detroit while Testing Lab Sits Idle
Thu, Apr 8, 2004

The Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System is designed to revert to a backup system when problems arise, such as incorrect identification of planes, which is now plaguing STARS in the Detroit Terminal Radar Approach Control room. But in a case of bad policy, not bad technology, the Federal Aviation Administration is testing possible fixes not in a simulator but with live traffic on the STARS system itself, which remains plugged in while Detroit’s backup system sits ready and free, but unused.


Dominican Government's Reckless Action Leads to Unsafe Skies
Wed, Mar 31, 2004

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association today condemned the actions of the government in the Dominican Republic to lock out its air traffic controller workforce and replace it with unqualified controllers, a move that has resulted in serious safety concerns for that country and also increased demands on U.S. controllers working in Miami who handle the airspace around that Caribbean region.


NATCA, PASS Tell Blakey: Wait for Court to Rule on Impasse
Thu, Mar 25, 2004

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association and Professional Airways Systems Specialists have advised the Federal Aviation Administration against unilaterally imposing the agency’s contract proposals on 11 of NATCA’s non-controller bargaining units, warning that such action before a federal court determines whether the Federal Service Impasses Panel can resolve the current impasse “would reflect a disregard for due process of the law.”


AFL-CIO Condemns FAA's "Draconian" Approach to Bargaining
Thu, Mar 11, 2004

The AFL-CIO today condemned the Federal Aviation Administration’s misguided attempts to unilaterally impose the terms and conditions of a contract with its employees represented by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, calling its bargaining approach “draconian.”


Controller Involvement Ensures Successful Introduction of Airport Ground Movement Alerting System in Houston
Tue, Feb 24, 2004

As a result of tireless efforts by local officials of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association to ensure safety and success, George Bush Intercontinental Airport received a special gift recently when it became the 34th and final airport to commission the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS), which provides air traffic controllers with visual and audible alerts to assist in preventing runway collisions.


FAA Reneges on Signed Agreements to Manage Atlanta Operations
Tue, Feb 10, 2004

In a stark repudiation of its own signed agreements the Federal Aviation Administration said this week it is breaking apart its combined tower/radar approach control facilities controlling Atlanta airspace, penalizing air traffic controllers who are handling increasingly heavy traffic demands.


Administration Continues to Send Contradictory Message
Mon, Feb 9, 2004

As Administration transportation officials tout their efforts to modernize Milwaukee’s air traffic control system here today, 800 miles away on Capitol Hill, sits the Administration’s proposed 2005 budget, which cuts the Federal Aviation Administration’s modernization budget by $400 million and further exposes a widening credibility gap.


White House Budget Cuts for Air Traffic Expose Credibility Gap
Mon, Feb 2, 2004

Today’s budget proposal exposes a major credibility gap in the Bush Administration’s aviation policy, proposing a 16 percent cut in spending on air traffic control facilities and equipment while simultaneously touting its futuristic modernization plan to drastically add system capacity.


NATCA Files Suit, Asks Court to Intervene
Fri, Jan 30, 2004

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association filed a lawsuit today, asking a federal court to order the Federal Service Impasses Panel to resolve bargaining impasses between NATCA and the Federal Aviation Administration affecting employees in 11 of NATCA’s non-controller bargaining units.


FAA Review of Air Traffic Control Issues at Chicago TRACON Welcomed, but Badly Flawed, Air Traffic Controllers Contend
Thu, Jan 22, 2004

The team of Federal Aviation Administration investigators being sent to the Chicago approach control facility in Elgin, Ill., this week to review air traffic control issues in the wake of a rising volume of flights and corresponding increase of errors is doomed to fail, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.