Natca: Sequestration Would Cripple ATC, NextGen

 - December 13, 2012, 11:43 AM

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) has released a report outlining the effects sequestration will have on the aviation industry, as well as the U.S. economy, if Congress does not act to avert the across-the-board cuts scheduled to take effect January 1. “As the front-line safety professionals in the aviation community, it is our role to warn the rest of the country that these cuts will be detrimental to our National Airspace System and the economy,” said Natca president Paul Rinaldi. “We urge Congress to act to prevent the sequester before it’s too late.”

According to its report, all users of and operators in the NAS–including airline passengers, general/business aviation pilots, airlines, businesses and the military–will be affected by the cuts “in the form of a reduction in airport and air traffic control services, a diminishing of the NAS’s flight capacity, increased delays and costs to airlines and lags in air traffic modernization.”

Natca further warns that cutting the FAA operations budget by the mandated 8.2 percent could result in furloughing between 2,000 and 2,200 air traffic controllers, about 12 percent of the workforce. The sequester cuts would also put at risk several NextGen modernization projects, including en route automation modernization (Eram) and metroplex airspace optimization, among others.


Sounds like the national union is threatening a slowdown along the lines of what happened at O'Hare more than a decade ago. If that happens, I hope the national NATCA leadership gets busted the way the local NATCA leadership got busted at O'Hare.

If the FAA needs to trim the budget, the first thing it could do is bring Fort Worth ARTCC salaries in compliance with the negotiated ATC pay scale. Next, there should be a four year moratorium on facility payscale upgrades, and a complete nix on multi-year backpay on upgrades when they do happen. When you have employees who are making six-figure salaries in an economy when many are taking povery-level jobs just to get by, it's obscene that said employees are looking for tens of thousands of dollars in 'compensation.' And finally, I might suggest a general ten percent pay cat in controller salaries as a whole. This should save the next gen program, and the controllers will still keep their six figure salaries, just not as large as they were taking home. Many in this country would gladly switch places with them if they don't like this deal.

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