The number of fully certified air traffic controllers has declined each of the past four years, reaching a 28-year low. Among its recommendations, NATCA is calling on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to increase annual hiring totals 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.
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. Consequently, the total staffing number fell 10 percent since 2011. Additionally, 27 percent of the total of fully certified controllers are eligible to retire today.
NATCA’s primary objective remains the same: to achieve a stable, predictable funding stream for the National Airspace System (NAS). NATCA will review any new proposal and evaluate it based on whether it protects workforce rights and benefits, maintains safety and efficiency as the top priorities, creates funding certainty, and maintains service to all segments of the aviation community.
An extension to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization now runs through September. Unfortunately, this legislation does not provide the long-term funding certainty our NAS needs. It does, however, contain important provisions that would streamline the hiring process for controllers, an important step considering the current hiring crisis impacting the air traffic control workforce.
While NATCA considers the extension a good start that provides certainty through the end of the current fiscal year, our preference is for a full, long-term reauthorization with a stable, predictable funding stream that ends both sequestration and the stop-and-go funding that has harmed the NAS.
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A video produced by FAA Communications in collaboration with NATCA.
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