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News Archive 2005

FAA Reneges on Deal to Properly Staff Atlanta Tower
Tue, Dec 20, 2005

The Federal Aviation Administration has reneged on a deal with air traffic controllers that aimed to ensure the country’s busiest control tower, at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, is properly and safely staffed. The FAA’s change in course means that Atlanta Tower is forced to continue operating with 10 fewer controllers than is mandated by the deal and the FAA won’t be able to staff two proposed positions in the tower designed to ensure safe runway crossings, despite the opening of a new fifth runway next May and a spate of recent runway incidents across the country.


FAA Compromises Safety and Service in San Juan to Save $120
Fri, Dec 16, 2005

Federal Aviation Administration managers at the San Juan, Puerto Rico air traffic control center on Thursday failed to adequately staff the busy Caribbean facility in order to save the $120 it would have cost to bring in an extra controller for a two-hour overtime period.


FAA Stain Yields Taxpayer Pain: Eleven Controllers Reinstated after Wrongful Termination
Tue, Dec 13, 2005

Ten of the 11 New York air traffic controllers reinstated by a federal arbitrator in a stinging defeat for the Federal Aviation Administration received a letter of reprimand but were not suspended, contrary to the FAA’s false and misleading statements in the New York media today.


FAA Admits LAX Tower is “Severely Understaffed,” Embraces “No Manager Left Behind” Policy at Oakland Center
Mon, Dec 12, 2005

The Federal Aviation Administration has admitted that the control tower at Los Angeles International Airport is “severely understaffed,” but continues to ignore dwindling staffing numbers at its busy Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center in Fremont, Calif., while making sure its own supervisor ranks are completely full.


FAA Jeopardizes Safety With New “Fix-on-Fail” Policy for Equipment
Wed, Dec 7, 2005

The Federal Aviation Administration has fundamentally changed the way air traffic control equipment is maintained and now plans to wait until the equipment actually fails before conducting vital work. By waiting until a potentially dangerous failure occurs, this new agency policy directly threatens passenger safety and is the latest example of the agency’s mismanagement, which is reducing the reliability and integrity of the system by cutting corners.


$tate of FAA: Agency Cries Poverty but Spends Lavishly on Itself
Wed, Nov 16, 2005

Like a giddy teenager at the mall, the Federal Aviation Administration has polished off a wild, fiscal year-ending shopping spree that belies the agency’s empty rhetoric on the true causes of the FAA’s failure to maintain and modernize the U.S. air traffic control system. It provides the clearest proof yet that this critical government agency is failing under the weight of mismanagement and fiscal irresponsibility.


NATCA Shares NTSB Concerns about Runway Safety, Condemns FAA's "Two-Tiered" Approach in Addressing Solutions
Tue, Nov 15, 2005

In the wake of an annual National Transportation Safety Board meeting this morning where the board is expected to again spotlight runway safety, National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr will tell the Wings Club in New York this afternoon that runway incidents are evidence that the Federal Aviation Administration is not taking a comprehensive approach to maintenance and modernization of the U.S. air traffic control system.


Controllers Urge Blakey to Come Clean about Real "State of FAA"
Mon, Nov 14, 2005

Federal Aviation Administration employees will hear a rosy picture of the nation’s aviation system painted by Administrator Marion Blakey in her annual “State of the FAA” address tomorrow. But air traffic controllers are calling on the administrator to address five important questions that affect the safety of the system, the integrity of the FAA and the agency’s relationship with its own employees.


FAA Kills Effort to Improve Weather Data Dissemination
Tue, Nov 1, 2005

Federal air traffic management coordinators today are calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to take immediate action to restart work on an important safety feature to a software upgrade in the final development stages that would provide additional automated weather information to the computer system used by air traffic controllers monitoring the en route portion of flights.


FAA Fails to Tell Controllers About Major New Air Routes
Thu, Oct 27, 2005

The Federal Aviation Administration today is adding up to 15 new north-south air routes along the East Coast in an attempt to alleviate Florida air traffic congestion, but in a gaffe that points to the agency’s continued mismanagement of the system, the agency has not yet informed controllers at several of the air traffic control facilities tasked with implementing the new routes and directing the aircraft using them.


Transport Workers Worldwide Slam FAA for Decision to Fire Several New York TRACON Controllers
Fri, Oct 21, 2005

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is sharply criticizing the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to fire several air traffic controllers in the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control for a clerical error related to treatment received for stress as a result of their work, saying it is “appalled” by the action.


Kansas City Center Radar Failure Delays Flights, Disrupts System
Mon, Oct 17, 2005

An hour-long radar failure at the Kansas City Air Route Traffic Control Center late Sunday afternoon sent controllers scrambling to locate aircraft and keep them safe while transitioning to a far less efficient backup system. The malfunction also caused delays for passengers waiting to depart Kansas City International Airport.


FAA Finally Acknowledges Serious Radar Failures at Washington Center
Wed, Oct 12, 2005

Just days after dismissing air traffic controllers’ concerns about dangerous radar failures at the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center, the Federal Aviation Administration has acknowledged the seriousness of the problem and devoted necessary resources and personnel to try and find a solution. However, the serious radar failure that caused aircraft to disappear from controllers’ radar scopes has yet to be resolved.


Controllers Rise to Air Traffic Challenges Presented by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
Tue, Oct 4, 2005

Several dozen individual air traffic controllers in facilities affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita have met the extreme challenges of safely moving large volumes of traffic in the recovery effort by displaying an extraordinary level of skill, selflessness and dedication.


Air Travelers' Safety at Risk as FAA Radar Failures Hide Planes from Washington Air Traffic Controllers
Thu, Sep 29, 2005

A radar problem affecting all parts of the airspace handled by Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center has made dozens of planes invisible to controllers in recent days and caused delays for flights at Washington Dulles Airport. This serious safety concern is the latest example of the Federal Aviation Administration’s mismanagement of the air traffic control system and irresponsible policy of waiting to address technical problems until a failure and crisis develops.


Air Traffic Controllers Expose How FAA Failures Threaten Air Safety
Wed, Sep 28, 2005

Announcing a major new national public education campaign, America’s air traffic controllers called on the FAA to address serious flaws that are putting the safety of the flying public at risk. Launching the “Fly Us Safe Campaign” – a television, internet and press effort – John Carr, President of the National Air Traffic Controllers’ Association, outlined how serious mismanagement was putting the safety, integrity and efficiency of America’s air traffic control system in danger.


FAA Slams Door on Houston Controllers’ Families during Rita
Mon, Sep 26, 2005

In a move that reinforces recent survey results cementing the Federal Aviation Administration’s lowly position as the worst place to work in government, the agency last week waited until the last possible moment to tell controllers at Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center their families were not allowed in the facility as Hurricane Rita directly threatened the area.


Carr to Miniace: “Let's Get Serious”
Tue, Sep 20, 2005

National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr today proposed that both NATCA and Federal Aviation Administration contract negotiators agree to allow private arbitrators to settle any issues that the parties cannot reach agreement on independently and voluntarily.


Passenger Safety Jeopardized in Caribbean; Power Outages Reveal FAA Negligence
Mon, Sep 19, 2005

The Federal Aviation Administration’s failure to maintain air traffic control equipment at the San Juan Center and Radar Approach Control facility left air traffic controllers scrambling to keep airplanes separated and safe during a period of three severe power outages in three days leading up to the Labor Day weekend. Now, air traffic controllers are calling on the FAA to make sure passenger safety is never jeopardized again.


Safety Agency Turns Up Dead...Last
Thu, Sep 15, 2005

The Federal Aviation Administration received a damning report from a new survey on workplace satisfaction, confirming the agency's position as the worst place to work in government.


Unsafe Math Problem for FAA: Subtraction of Controllers Means Multiplication of Errors at Nation's Busiest TRACON
Tue, Sep 13, 2005

Operational errors have more than doubled in the last year at the Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control – the nation’s busiest such facility – at the same time as staffing levels have fallen 12 percent, reflecting yet another key part of the National Airspace System where Federal Aviation Administration mismanagement is resulting in a degradation of the margin of safety.


FAA Slowing Pace of Controller Contract Negotiations
Thu, Sep 8, 2005

National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr today issued the following statement expressing frustration at the Federal Aviation Administration’s tactics in slowing the pace of ongoing contract negotiations:


FAA Staffing Crisis Leaves One Controller Overburdened by Crush of Traffic in Oakland
Thu, Aug 25, 2005

The critical condition of air traffic controller staffing levels at Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center was exposed in a dramatic and unsafe way early this morning when the Federal Aviation Administration was forced to combine two busy sectors that handle trans-oceanic traffic due to lack of staffing. The resulting traffic crush left one air traffic controller in charge of 50 planes, most of them Boeing 747s and DC-10s en route to Asia. This is twice the normal traffic load controllers are accustomed to handling on separate sectors that the FAA is supposed to staff with multiple personnel.


FAA Dangerously Violating Procedures for Planes Approaching Newark Airport
Wed, Aug 24, 2005

Air traffic controllers are calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to renounce a dangerous procedure to squeeze through more traffic at Newark Tower and the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control facility. The unregulated procedure which permits simultaneous Instrument Landing System (ILS) approaches to intersecting runways at Newark Liberty International Airport is against the agency’s own rules. Despite several written complaints from air traffic controllers over several months, the FAA has failed to take action to end the unsafe practices at the nation’s 16th busiest airport.


FAA Staffing Cuts to Los Angeles Air Traffic Control Facility Results in Dangerous Close Calls
Tue, Aug 16, 2005

Air traffic controller staffing shortages caused by the Federal Aviation Administration are at critical levels at the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center, resulting in a serious degradation in the margin of safety. Several recent close calls can be attributed to the dangerously low staffing levels caused by unacceptable FAA cuts, proof that the agency continues to mismanage the system.


Runway Safety at Risk Due to FAA Failure to Fix Key Equipment
Thu, Aug 11, 2005

Air traffic controllers today are calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to invest the effort and money needed to fix a dangerous and unacceptable glitch in a key airport movement surveillance system that forces it into limited mode during bad weather, defeating its usefulness in helping to prevent possible collisions.


New FAA Restriction Will Lengthen Flight Delays
Tue, Aug 9, 2005

Just days after the head of the Federal Aviation Administration told reporters that bad weather, crowded flights and a lack of pavement at critical airports caused record delays in July, the agency has announced it will implement a bizarre new restriction that will greatly exacerbate flight delays. The restriction will end the practice of allowing aircraft to hold on the runway, awaiting takeoff clearance and, in the process, the FAA is unnecessarily forcing its tower personnel to scramble to meet a Sept. 30 deadline to show why their tower should continue using the longstanding practice that maximizes runway efficiency.


Air Travel Around Nation's Capitol and Big Apple Suffers Due to FAA Failings
Mon, Jul 25, 2005

Once again, the Federal Aviation Administration’s failure to address an ongoing frequency problem at Washington Center, in Leesburg, Va., created a potentially dangerous situation yesterday for travelers in the Northeast Corridor.


Not Again: FAA Technicians and Air Traffic Controllers Express Frustration With Persistent Power Outages
Fri, Jul 22, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Another power outage occurred in the air traffic control tower at Philadelphia International Airport during the early hours of July 21. This latest power outage, the second in less than two months, represents a repeated failure of FAA policy to address serious threats to aviation safety said the Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS) and National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) today.


Important En Route Center Display System Failing at High Rate
Fri, Jul 22, 2005

The projectors in an en route center display system that gives controllers important real-time information are failing at a high rate and have been marked by instances of lamps exploding, sending glass shards out of the units, according to documents uncovered by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.


NATCA President John Carr Responds to FAA Nationwide Press Conferences
Tue, Jul 19, 2005

“It is my understanding that the FAA is holding over twenty press conferences across the country to speak about air traffic control contract negotiations, which officially started today. This highly coordinated media assault is a disappointing indication of how much time and energy the FAA is prepared to expend in attacking air traffic controllers – time and energy that would be so much better spent actually engaging in a good faith negotiation on how best to ensure the safety and modernization of our aviation system.


STARS Fails at Syracuse and Help from FAA is Nowhere to Be Found
Wed, Jul 6, 2005

The failure of the Federal Aviation Administration to adequately staff its Syracuse, N.Y., Tower and Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility with enough equipment technicians turned a relatively routine failure of the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System last Friday, July 1, into a 17-hour shutdown of the radar display system that reduced the margin of safety.


FAA Evades Mineta's Guidance, Denies Education to Employees' Kids
Tue, Jul 5, 2005

The Federal Aviation Administration is blatantly ignoring clear guidance from Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta by continuing to deny children of its employees in Puerto Rico and Guam access to the Department of Defense school system. This is happening despite Secretary Mineta’s determination one year ago that local schools in Puerto Rico and Guam are not appropriate for the dependents of FAA employees because the curriculum is not taught in English. The only access to public education taught in English is through the schools provided by the Department of Defense.


FAA to Controllers Looking out for Safety: You're Dismissed!
Fri, Jul 1, 2005

In a move that further jeopardizes the safety and efficiency of America’s aviation system, the Federal Aviation Administration has terminated a vital program that ensured critical cooperation between America’s air traffic controllers and the agency. The move, which comes against the recommendations of the Government Accountability Office and coincides with a House of Representatives’ vote against reckless agency cuts, is just the latest attack on the previously productive partnership between air traffic controllers and the FAA.


New Boston Approach Control Besieged With Equipment Problems
Tue, Jun 28, 2005

Boston Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON), the country’s newest Federal Aviation Administration consolidated facility, is suffering from numerous problems and technical failures related to radio and land-line communications as well as the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS), which is becoming not only a source of daily concern to air traffic controllers at the 18-month-old facility but an aviation safety concern as well.


NATCA Honors Rep. James Oberstar With “Sentinel of Safety” Award; Boston TRACON Controller Ken Hopf Wins “President's Award”
Tue, May 17, 2005

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association saluted Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., with the first “Sentinel of Safety” award and Boston Terminal Radar Approach Controller Ken Hopf with the first “President’s Award” for the most outstanding flight assist of 2004 during a banquet Monday evening.


Outstanding Controllers Saluted With "Archie League Medal of Safety" Award
Mon, May 16, 2005

WASHINGTON - The National Air Traffic Controllers Association today is saluting the best examples of air traffic controllers who displayed extraordinary skill to ensure safety in critical situations in 2004 with its first annual "Archie League Medal of Safety" awards.


Air Traffic Controllers Go to Capitol Hill to Press Issues "Beyond the Scope;" Message to Members of Congress: Reductions in Service are Reductions in Safety
Tue, May 10, 2005

Hundreds of air traffic controllers from across the country will descend on Capitol Hill on May 16-17 for their annual legislative conference and Hill visits. With an array of difficult issues beyond their radar scopes confronting the air traffic control system, controllers will bring a strong message for their respective members of Congress: cutting corners on services means cutting safety.


FAA Commends Controllers at NY Air Traffic Control Facilities; Controllers Maintain Safety in the Face of Significant Staffing Shortage
Mon, May 9, 2005

Despite a severe staffing shortage, the air traffic controllers in the New York area continue to prove that they will not be distracted from their primary mission. Even the Federal Aviation Administration has commended the performance of controllers at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (N90) and the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZNY).


NATCA: Rumors of Trust Fund's Demise are Greatly Exaggerated
Wed, May 4, 2005

Boldly asserting that there is no crisis in the Aviation Trust Fund, National Air Traffic Controllers Association Executive Vice President Ruth Marlin told the House Aviation Subcommittee today that “we should not underestimate the strength of the current Federal Aviation Administration funding system and we should not tamper with it lightly.”


NATCA’s Annual "Communicating for Safety” Conference: Controllers, Pilots to Meet in Milwaukee to Exchange Ideas
Mon, May 2, 2005

Over 250 pilots and air traffic controllers from around the country will gather on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 3-4, for a unique annual aviation event: The National Air Traffic Controllers Association’s “Communicating for Safety” conference.


NATCA Study Unravels Air Traffic Control Funding Myths
Thu, Apr 28, 2005

With Congress set to examine Federal Aviation Administration financing and the Aviation Trust Fund next week, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association has released a detailed report that provides a fact-based framework for policy discussions on financing and explains why current budget proposals represent a major shift in government priorities.


U.S. Air Traffic Control System's Size, Safety Make Privatization Points Moot
Wed, Apr 20, 2005

National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr said the revelation today before the House Aviation Subcommittee that the U.S. air traffic control system accounts for 92 percent of total operations among the world’s largest systems is the best proof yet that it is impractical to discuss emulating other countries’ privatized systems.


Carr Offers House Subcommittee Ideas on FAA Air Traffic Organization, Joint Planning and Development Office and Aviation Trust Fund
Thu, Apr 14, 2005

Speaking before a Congressional panel, National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr today outlined ideas to improve the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Traffic Organization, address staffing problems and improve planning for future air traffic system growth, and refuted the belief that serious funding problems could lead to system users paying for a reduced level of service.


FAA'S Knack for Fuzzy Math Jeopardizes Safety: Request for New Controllers Comes Up Embarrassingly Shy of Agency's Goal
Mon, Feb 7, 2005

Just 48 days after telling Congress in a much anticipated report that it planned to hire 1,249 air traffic controllers in fiscal year 2006 to begin a decade-long commitment to addressing a looming staffing crisis, the Federal Aviation Administration's budget request today called for only 595 new hires next fiscal year, breaking its promise to the American public that it will adequately protect air safety.


NATCA Applauds New FAA Rule Eliminating Unnecessary Barrier to Hiring Next Generation of Air Traffic Controllers
Thu, Jan 13, 2005

Air traffic controllers today praised the Federal Aviation Administration for taking a key step in the urgent need to hire the next generation of controllers, lifting a policy that required students of air traffic control training programs to start employment with the agency within two years of graduation.