The union representing air traffic controllers rejected the FAA’s call last month for federal mediation to help the agency reach a new labor agreement with controllers, labeling it a “publicity stunt.” A 1998 contract expired on September 30, and the FAA suggests that little progress has been made since it and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association began negotiations on July 13.
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
The FAA on November 14 will implement its organization delegation authorization (ODA) program, which will replace the current designee program. The new ODA program, proposed in January last year, expands the functions that designees may perform, permits non-FAA-certified individuals and organizations to become designees and eliminates the existing designee categories.
A Government Accountability Office study of five foreign air navigation service providers, including Nav Canada, found that since “commercialization,” all have maintained safety, controlled costs and improved efficiency. All five have invested in new technologies that they say lowered costs by increasing controllers’ productivity and produced operating efficiencies, such as fewer or shorter delays.
The FAA’s industry-government Management Advisory Council (MAC) is recommending that the agency take several steps to save money, including consolidating some Tracons, contracting out more VFR control towers and reducing the number of FAA regions.
The FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association are at loggerheads over an FAA report describing staffing levels, scheduling abnormalities, excessive overtime, ineffective management and “threats, intimidation and inappropriate behavior” at the New York Tracon.
In the ongoing debate about what the next generation air transportation system (NGATS) should entail, the Air Traffic Control Association held a symposium in Washington in late June to discuss “Rightsizing the NAS.”
While most speakers discussed current training issues and new learning concepts at the Air Traffic Control Association’s recent “ATC Training for the Future” conference, one presenter proposed that tomorrow’s air traffic controllers should possess, at minimum, a bachelor of science degree with emphasis on mathematics, computer science, engineering, probability theory and interpersonal psychology from an accredited university.
The FAA said its notice sent last month to tower controllers to review the taxi into position and hold (TIPH) procedure is not intended to end the practice, as the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) claims. “Basically, we are seeing a small trend of runway incursions resulting from that procedure,” said an FAA spokesperson. “We wanted to raise awareness and see if it is still required.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) called the FAA’s imposition of new work rules over the Labor Day weekend “a brazen, arrogant trampling of the collective bargaining system” and a threat to the safety and efficiency of the National Airspace System.
With nearly 20,000 comments received on the proposal to make the Washington, D.C., air defense identification zone (ADIZ) permanent, the FAA will hold two public meetings this month to give pilots, airport managers and others a chance to present their views on the proposal.