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NATCA, FAA Reach Historic Agreement on Contract Extension - (12/9/2003)

WASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association announced today it has reached agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration on a two-year contract extension that includes cost savings for the agency, capacity improvements for the National Airspace System and safety enhancements for air travelers.

NATCA agreed to a performance-based pay system which ties part of controllers’ pay to reductions in runway incursions and operational errors. The new agreement will save the FAA up to $100 million in pay rules changes over the life of the contract.

In addition, NATCA agreed to rewrite all of the side agreements, called memorandums of understanding, which the FAA brought forward and sought to renegotiate as a result of a report by the Department of Transportation Inspector General. One of those MOUs to be rewritten involves the National Airspace Redesign project. NATCA agreed to rework that MOU to improve the systemic designing capacity, which will lead to increased efficiency of flights over some of the most congested air corridors in the country.

“This agreement is the culmination of hard work on the part of both sides working in a spirit of collaboration,” NATCA President John Carr said. “We are particularly pleased to see the gains in safety and efficiency that will be achieved with this deal. It’s a win-win situation for the flying public.”

Despite lengthy discussions, the two sides were not able to reach a staffing agreement.

“Too few controllers are operating the system right now and we are far from seeing a bubble of hiring needed to prepare for the coming wave of controller retirements. The FAA believes we have plenty of controllers,” Carr remarked. “But we agreed to put this issue to the side for the good of the system so that everyone can enjoy the cost savings, safety and efficiency enhancements which this new agreement brings.”

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