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NATCA Calls for Unified Effort to Decrease Delays - (10/14/1999)

WASHINGTON- In today's testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation, Randy Schwitz, executive vice president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, dispelled misconceptions about the causes of aviation delays and laid out a plan to help reduce them.

"First, the finger pointing must stop," said Schwitz. "It is unfair for one segment of the aviation industry to place responsibility entirely on another, just to save face with stockholders and Wall Street. Aviation is about far more than making money for airlines and their investors. It's about getting people from point-A to point-B safely. "

Schwitz also said there is no quick fix to this situation and if the aviation community doesn't act quickly, the problem will only get worse. He called for all participants in the "delay debate" to establish a long-term work group committed to open, respectful collaboration with everyone having a full stake in the partnership. Schwitz highlighted many causes for this summer's increased delays including crowded terminal airspace, unrealistic airline schedules, policies, modernization and weather, which alone causes 75 percent of all aviation delays.

Airline CEOs and their spokespeople have misused the delays issue, and subsequently their passenger's misery over the subject, by making it a call to arms for privatization. This could not be any farther off the mark or come at a more inappropriate time. The Federal Aviation Administration has a renewed commitment to working with its employees in developing cutting-edge, technologically advanced equipment, which will safely take the flying public into the 21st century.

Transcripts of Schwitz's testimony are available by fax or email. Please contact Dawn Deeks at (202) 628-5451 ext. 402.

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