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FAA Reneges on Signed Agreements to Manage Atlanta Operations - (2/10/2004)

CONTACT: Doug Church (Washington), 202/220.9802; Andrew Cantwell (Atlanta), 305/742.6423

ATLANTA – In a stark repudiation of its own signed agreements the Federal Aviation Administration said this week it is breaking apart its combined tower/radar approach control facilities controlling Atlanta airspace, penalizing air traffic controllers who are handling increasingly heavy traffic demands.

The FAA has announced the swift destruction of the nearly six-year-old agreements which governed the controllers who worked in both the control tower at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the three-year-old Atlanta Terminal Radar Approach Control facility located in Peachtree City, Ga., which handles all flights within a large area around the airport and Northern Georgia.

"The FAA's integrity is disappearing faster than Janet Jackson's wardrobe," National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr said. "Even more distressing than the duplicity shown by the FAA’s action is the resulting disruption to the air traffic control working environment at one of the country’s busiest airports. Abandoning an integrated approach to air traffic control between the tower and radar approach control facilities causes needless distraction at a time when our controllers’ focus must be on the task at hand. “

“Unfortunately, it seems that the FAA continues to engage in political gamesmanship. It is trying to undermine the collective bargaining process by punishing dedicated air traffic controllers. A signed agreement between an employer and employees – dedicated public servants – means nothing to the FAA. And that’s just wrong.”

Carr was weighing his union's option for legal action in the matter but seemed resigned to the agency's dishonorable tactics when he added, "I've challenged the highest levels of FAA leadership to provide me the name of a person I can deal with who will live by their signed agreements. I'm still waiting for them to provide that name."

Hartsfield-Jackson Tower is the second-busiest in the country, handling 900,000 takeoffs and landings each year. Atlanta TRACON is the country's fifth-busiest such facility, handling 1.3 million operations annually.


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