The number of fully certified air traffic controllers, already at a 27-year low, fell again in the first three months of 2016. Among its recommendations, NATCA is calling on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to increase annual hiring totals and is advocating for stable, predictable funding for the FAA, including ensuring that the FAA is not subject to future sequester cuts.
Controller staffing levels have fallen nearly 10 percent since 2011, and the FAA has missed its hiring goals in each of the last seven years. In fact, in fiscal year 2015, the FAA fell 24 percent short of its hiring goal. More controllers are eligible to retire today, specifically one-quarter of the workforce, than are in the pipeline to replace them.
NATCA supports air traffic control reform and believes we must have stable, predictable funding for the National Airspace System (NAS). The current aviation system has served us well until recent years. Unfortunately, we no longer have a stable or predictable funding stream and this uncertainty has caused many serious problems for the system. Without change, we face continued funding uncertainty.
"All stakeholders in the NAS must work together to ensure that the United States remains the world leader in aviation," said NATCA President Paul Rinaldi, pictured above.
The current extension to FAA authorization runs through Sept. 30, 2017. While NATCA considers this extension a good start that provides certainty through the end of the next fiscal year, our preference is for a full, long-term reauthorization with stable, predictable funding that ends both sequestration and the stop-and-go funding that has harmed the NAS.
A video produced by FAA Communications in collaboration with NATCA.
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