The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) late last week endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president.
Air traffic controller
Continuing its opposition to any hint of a privatized ATC system in the U.S., the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) said it is closely watching the funding problems being experienced in the UK and Canada. Privatization advocates in the U.S. point to what they call “successes” in both the UK and Canada to justify their position, said Natca president John Carr, who argued the word “failure” now applies.
Britain’s partly privatized National Air Traffic Services (NATS) has asked the government to allow it to raise en route charges to make up an estimated £230 million ($327 million) revenue shortfall over the next three years. It has also had to request approximately £60 million ($85 million) in loans from the government and the consortium of banks that last year backed seven leading UK airlines when they acquired a 46-percent stake in NATS.
The unions representing nearly 20,000 employees of the FAA have joined in a coalition “to hold the FAA accountable” for meeting its modernization goals and to improve working conditions at the agency. The coalition represents the largest group of organized employees at the FAA.
Now halfway into its fifth year of operation as the world’s first fully privatized provider of air navigation services, Nav Canada today finds itself lauded by its clients and castigated by some of its employees.
After several years of bitter debate, partial privatization of the UK’s ATC system became a reality on July 27 when the Airline Group completed the acquisition of a 46-percent stake in National Air Traffic Services (NATS). The government has retained a 49-percent stake, with the remaining 5 percent going to NATS employees.
The FAA could face a shortage of air traffic controllers in the next decade unless it makes more adequate plans to replace as many as 11,000 current controllers who could leave the agency by 2012, the General Accounting Office (GAO) has warned Congress. And that attrition could affect the safety of the ATC system and increase air traffic delays.
The General Accounting Office warned the FAA that unless it makes better plans to replace the 5,000 air traffic controllers expected to retire over the next five years, there might be a shortfall that could affect the safety of the ATC system and increase air traffic delays.
Britain’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) is stepping up operating trials aimed at making greater use of both en route and terminal area airspace. New procedures being evaluated include the use of parallel offset tracks in place of radar headings alone; closer spacing of parallel routes with autonomous operations; and the use of precision area navigation (PRnav) procedures for terminal area control.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) gave “Sentinel of Safety” awards to Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) to honor them for advancing aviation safety.
According to the controllers’ union, LoBiondo has been an outspoken leader on countless issues affecting the lives of working union members.