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NATCA Urges Passage of FAA Funding Extension to Avoid Furlough of Safety Professionals - (7/21/2011)

CONTACT: Doug Church, 301-346-8245

WASHINGTON -- National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Paul Rinaldi issued the following statement today on the urgent situation regarding FAA reauthorization:

"There is an array of extraordinarily negative consequences to our National Airspace System that would result from a failure by Congress to pass an extension of FAA authorization by tomorrow night. But what is most important to realize is that there are real people caught in the middle of this Congressional fight; men and women who have families to support. The loss of their important safety jobs also comes with an abrupt loss of pay and that would be a tragic thing to see happen. These hard-working, dedicated safety professionals should not have to pay the price and take the brunt of the impact for these policy differences in Congress.

"While we would expect air traffic controllers to be considered essential employees who would continue to work to ensure the safety of the flying public, NATCA also represents many of the estimated 4,000 FAA employees who would be furloughed. They are employees who perform key safety functions like engineers and architects and FAA airports division personnel.

"Our country, which relies so heavily on aviation to help run its economy, cannot afford to take steps backward. Congress must pass this extension and then work to pass a full FAA reauthorization bill that would move our National Airspace System forward, led by the safety professionals who already make it the world's safest."

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