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Airlines Must Accept Delays Responsibility - (3/20/2000)

WASHINGTON– Continental Airlines is at it again, baselessly blaming controllers for their delays. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association and the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations are urging airlines to acknowledge their responsibilities in creating delays and stop their unjustified and malicious attacks on controllers.

At IFATCA’s recent annual conference, air traffic controllers representing more than 70 countries expressed anger over being erroneously fingered as the cause of delays.

"This nonsense has gone on for too long," said NATCA’s Executive Vice President Randy Schwitz. "Airlines refuse to make the necessary changes in schedules. It shows their only concern is money, pure and simple. If they cared at all about passengers, the mudslinging would stop and airline representatives would work with us to alleviate problems."

IFATCA President Samuel Lampkin gave an accurate snapshot of delays in a recent federation press release. The true causes include scheduling problems created by the airline’s hub and spoke system, weather and increased traffic volume. He also called on the airlines to stop their campaign of misinformation and initiate a dialogue to combat the problem.

The hallmark of major airlines, the hub and spoke system, is a major source of delays. With dozens of planes simultaneously taxiing for takeoff or queuing above a metropolitan airport’s finite amount of airspace and number of runways, the laws of physics kick in. Only a handful will be able to depart or arrive at any given time.

"A controller’s only job is to get passengers from point A to point B safely," Schwitz said. "We are constantly working to make our system, the most efficient in the world, even better. However, the airlines would like us to put their profits ahead of passenger safety, and that’s never going to happen."

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