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Statement by NATCA President John Carr on House Hearing Investigating June 9 Incident Within Washington ADIZ - (7/8/2004)

CONTACT: Doug Church


Commenting on today’s House Aviation Subcommittee hearing investigating the June 9 incident within the Washington Air Defense Identification Zone

WASHINGTON – “On June 9, as is true each and every day, federal air traffic controllers were extremely vigilant in their duties. They were in contact with the Kentucky governor’s aircraft and knew the plane’s transponder was not working. They followed their training and procedures by alerting their Federal Aviation Administration supervisors.”

“It is unfortunate that this incident occurred but it is equally important to understand why it happened. Unfortunately, due to staffing shortages across the system, the FAA is unable to take controllers away from their primary air safety function to staff the ADIZ monitor position, created after 9-11, and instead uses contractors to monitor the radar scope and relay information.”

“The situation most likely would have been avoided had a fully trained and certified federal air traffic controller been in that chair instead of a contract employee. It is an example of how privatizing parts of the federal air traffic control system can create a serious safety situation and should serve as yet another warning signal for lawmakers and this Administration of the hazards of privatization.”

“I thank Congress for investigating this incident and also ask that they examine what is happening at the Potomac Terminal Radar Approach Control. Current flight restrictions mandated by the Washington ADIZ have not been backed up with staffing resources to ensure this safety is guaranteed. This problem needs to be addressed now.”

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