traffic controllers are quitting or retiring at an even faster clip so far in
fiscal year 2008 than the record outflow set the previous year, union officials
FAA’s pool of experienced controllers continued to dwindle at a rate of 6.2 per
day from 1 October to 5 January, says Patrick Forrey,
president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, who spoke with ATI on the
sidelines of an Aero Club of Washington luncheon today.
decline greatly exceeds the rate of more than 4 retirements per day for
controllers in FY2007, he adds.
currently represents 11,000 certified controllers and 3,700 controller
trainees, and is locked in a nearly two-year-old contract dispute with the US
rules imposed since the FAA broke off contract talks with NATCA has “directly
resulted” in the decline of controllers to a 15-year low, he adds.
to cope with the shortage [of controllers], the FAA is calling in regular
overtime and operating shifts without proper staffing, including some of the
nation’s busiest facilities,” Forrey told the Aero
simmering contract dispute is one of the top reasons why the US Congress has
been unable to pass legislation that re-authorizes the FAA’s funding and
approves new funds for long-term, $17 billion plan called NextGen
to modernize the air traffic control system.
demanding that the FAA must return to the bargaining table before the
authorization bill can be passed.
the union also opposes key issues in the NextGen
modernization plan. In his speech today, Forrey also
called on Congress to launch a review of NextGen
before any new funds are spent.