The FAA plans to restore its Chicago air route traffic control center (Artcc) to normal operation by October 13 following a fire that damaged the facility’s communications equipment and led to the disruption and cancellation of thousands of flights. The agency has also tasked its Air Traffic Organization (ATO) and unions to review contingency plans for major facilities in the wake of the September 26 fire, which was allegedly set by a disgruntled contract worker.
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
The FAA’s Airports Office and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) have jointly created a new safety system called Airport Voluntary Reporting System (AVRS) to allow the agency’s employees to report safety hazards more easily without fear of retaliation. The FAA and Natca signed a memorandum of understanding for the 18-month pilot program covering 338 of the 550 Airports Office employees.
A diverse panel of four aviation stakeholders kicked off the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 13th annual aviation summit this spring in Washington, D.C., with a lively discussion of NextGen that seemed to indicate that all sides are moving closer to consensus on how the system should be built and funded.
Twenty air traffic controllers, all members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca), were honored for their skill, dedication and professionalism at the association’s March 26 Archie League Medal of Safety awards ceremony. The annual event spotlights controllers who saved at least one life during an emergency.
The Federal Aviation Administration named agency veteran Teri Bristol as the new chief operating officer of its Air Traffic Organization (ATO), which is responsible for managing the U.S. ATC system. Administrator Michael Huerta announced the appointment in an email to employees on March 21.
Delivery of the $40 billion NextGen ATC modernization will likely remain highly vulnerable to the vicissitudes of politics unless those charged with implementing the system work to protect its funding streams, senior industry leaders told the recent Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) conference and exposition.
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.
At Capitol Hill on Thursday, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) was joined by NBAA, ALPA, GAMA, NATA, HAI and Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (Pass) in a rally against the government shutdown. Heavy rain, as well as Capitol security, dampened attendance to about 150 people, who were supplied by Natca with matching signage and shirts.
The U.S. government shutdown could have “grave repercussions on the [ATC] system,” Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca), told an October 10 rally. “The furlough of thousands of aviation safety professionals is eliminating critical layers of redundancy and safety that keep the system operating safely and efficiently. The shutdown has also interrupted the flow of hiring, training and innovation,” he said.
Every decade or so, sometimes more often, someone or some organization proposes “privatizing” the U.S. air traffic control system. In 1985 it was the Air Transport Association (ATA), now renamed Airlines for America, which released a study calling for a self-supporting federal ATC corporation.
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