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Controller Staffing Crisis: Total At 28-Year Low

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The number of fully certified air traffic controllers has declined each year since 2012, reaching a 28-year low. Among its recommendations, NATCA is calling on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to continue to take a holistic, collaborative approach to resolving the staffing crisis, and is advocating for a stable, predictable funding stream for the FAA. That includes ensuring that the FAA is not subject to future sequester cuts, like what occurred in 2013 that had very negative consequences for staffing and hiring.

The FAA exceeded its air traffic controller hiring goal for fiscal year 2016, but it missed its hiring mark each of the previous seven years. That contributed to the total staffing number falling nearly 10 percent since 2011. Additionally, 29 percent of the total of fully certified controllers are eligible to retire today.

We Need a Stable, Predictable Funding Stream

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NATCA wants to see a stable, predictable funding stream for the National Airspace System (NAS). During the House Transportation and Infrastructure hearing May 17 on ATC and FAA reform, Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., asked NATCA President Paul Rinaldi, "What do you think would be the cost of us doing nothing?"

Rinaldi's response: “Status quo, or doing nothing, is unacceptable. September will be here before you know it. We will be looking at another possible government shutdown and, as I said in my opening statement, as we lead up to a shutdown, the FAA turns their attention from NextGen, from UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) implementation, to shutdown procedures. For the last 10 years it happens a couple of times a year, and we lose this time. It’s four of five weeks leading up to it, five weeks on the back end of it, and they’re not sure what sequester’s going to bring us if we do get a budget and we do get a bill passed, what types of cuts we will have into the aviation system.”

NATCA President Paul Rinaldi's full written testimony
VIDEO: May 17 House T&I Committee hearing
VIDEO: Highlights from May 17 hearing
VIDEO: Rinaldi's opening statement

Communicating for Safety

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What started as an event with just 40 attendees in 1999 has now become the aviation industry’s leading safety conference, with over 1,000 attendees.

Biennial Convention

 

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The 17th Biennial Convention will be held in Philadelphia, April 18-20, 2018. More information coming soon.

NATCA in Washington

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  NATCA's premier legislative event.