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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Air Traffic Controllers Support Proposed FAA Reauthorization Bill

Juliet Van Wagenen

North Las Vegas Air Traffic Control Tower
North Las Vegas Air Traffic Control Tower. Photo: NATCA

[Avionics Today 02-04-2016] The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has announced its support for House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster's Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, which proposes an independent, not-for-profit corporation, outside of the federal government, to serve as the future Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) for the United States.

According to a statement released by NATCA's National Executive Board, the proposal by Shuster is just the beginning of the legislative process regarding the future structure of the FAA as a federal government agency.

"Part of that process will soon include a proposal by Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR-4). The ranking member will propose an alternate model for ensuring a stable, predictable funding stream for the FAA, while at the same time protecting employees and ensuring the safety of the [National Airspace System] NAS. We appreciate the effort he and his staff have made and look forward to giving that proposal’s language the same complete and rigorous review," NATCA's executive board said in a statement released on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

NATCA also wants to be clear that one of the primary reasons it is supporting the proposed legislation is that the bill establishes a "federally-chartered, not-for profit corporation to operate the NAS."

"Many voices in the public discussion of this issue, including the news media, will continue to use the word privatization to describe this bill. But to us, privatization has always meant a profit motive where safety is not the top priority. That definition does NOT fit this bill today. We support this bill because it does make safety the top priority," NATCA said in the statement.

Current federal fiscal year funding for the FAA expires March 31, 2016.

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