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.
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
The New York Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) and the New York Tracon will be combined into one building under an FAA plan to integrate air traffic services in the New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia metropolitan areas.
National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) president Patrick Forrey raised more than a few eyebrows in a recent speech at the Washington Aero Club, calling on Congress to order an immediate, comprehensive evaluation of the NextGen ATC system before any more funds are expended.
National Air Traffic Controllers Association president John Carr reacted angrily to former DOT inspector general Mary Schiavo’s citing of controller safety concerns over expansion plans at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Carr said the union endorses expansion of the airport “unequivocally.” He added, “We enthusiastically support the proposed legislation for its intended purpose to expand aviation capacity in the Chicago area.”
In a move seen by many observers as a first step in privatizing the nation’s ATC services, President Bush amended an executive order issued by President Clinton in December 2000 that made ATC an “inherently governmental function.”
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.
The FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) earlier this week signed an agreement to create an Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP), which is designed to “foster a voluntary, cooperative, non-punitive environment for the open reporting of safety-of-flight concerns by employees of the FAA.” Under the ATSAP, all parties will have access to valuable safety information, which will be analyzed to develop skill enhancem
“We believe that Congress should call for an immediate, comprehensive evaluation of NextGen, before additional funds to implement it are expended,” Natca president Patrick Forrey said yesterday at the Washington, D.C. Aero Club.
The 2003 Budget in Brief is, as the title implies, brief, but its complexity still leads the aviation alphabet groups to cherrypick for comment, while news media reveal their opinions through select editing. Few readers study the original text, yielding conclusions that range from focused to false.
To streamline the application process for air traffic controllers, the FAA has created consolidated screening and testing centers to provide “one-stop shopping” for prospective employees. According to the agency, consolidating security clearances, medical screenings and fingerprinting allows it to slash weeks off the application process. The first pre-employment processing center opened at the beginning of the year in New York.