Natca Outlines Damage to U.S. Aviation System

 - October 21, 2013, 12:50 PM

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) wasted no time after the U.S. government’s reopening to highlight the damage it says has been done to the country’s aviation system, reminding users that getting things rolling again may not be as simple as flipping a switch.

“NextGen suffered a setback that will take months to recover from,” a Natca spokesman said in an October 17 statement. “A key deadline on the aviation calendar was missed, preventing the [country’s new air traffic management] system from enjoying efficiency gains from updated maps and procedures. Numerous projects, like fixing key navigational aids and construction of facilities like the new control tower in Las Vegas, were brought to a halt.”

Natca likened powering up portions of the aviation system to “getting a freight train up to speed.” The group said developing a stable funding system for the ATC system is “an essential next step for lawmakers. Sequestration, the shutdown and the uncertainty they have wrought have disrupted flight schedules, peeled away layers of safety redundancies and threatened our ability to maintain fully staffed and trained workforces,” the association commented.