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NATCA President John Carr Calls Upon President Bush to Protect Air Safety - (11/20/2003)

WASHINGTON – The following statement was released today by National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr:

“Time is running out for President Bush to demonstrate leadership on the issue of air safety. And time is running out for the American flying public which has overwhelmingly rejected privatizing air traffic control. We hope the Administration is simply not trying to run out the clock on this important issue. We find it particularly curious that FAA Administrator Marion Blakey tells the media again this week that she has no intent to privatize, yet won’t even sign a letter requested by Congress stating just that. Clearly, there is a disconnect between the Administrator’s words and her actions.”

“For most of this year, Congress has tried to do the right thing and block the wholesale privatization of our air traffic control system. Both the House and the Senate passed language that protects every American who travels by air. But those efforts have been consistently thwarted by the FAA administrator who has undermined the will of the Congress and personally held up the FAA reauthorization – jeopardizing tens of thousands of jobs and critical air safety functions.”

“Now, a bipartisan group of Senate leaders has pleaded with the FAA Administrator once again to break the logjam and allow them to do their jobs. Ms. Blakey’s response…indifference and silence. It’s odd that she has taken time out from running the world’s largest air traffic control system to write opinion/editorial columns for newspapers from Chicago to Rhode Island, yet she’s proven unwilling to even respond in a constructive manner to members of her own party.”

“Press reports today reveal that the Administrator is trying to play with dates so she can be free to announce that she will privatize air traffic control next fall. While she may think that we don’t understand that a day makes a difference, we do. We understand the legislative process and are disappointed that once again the FAA is trying to play games. The wool can’t be pulled over our eyes that easily.”

“Mr. President, we call upon you to show leadership on this issue and work with Congress to protect the safety of the flying public. It’s time for everyone to stand up for safety…the clock is ticking.”

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