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NATCA Urges Senate to Pass FAA Extension Before Friday Deadline - (9/15/2011)

CONTACT: Doug Church, 301-346-8245

WASHINGTON – The fate of 4,000 FAA employees – including 1,200 represented by NATCA – and thousands of other workers rests in the hands of the Senate today. There are only 36 hours remaining until these workers would all be sent home and not paid in an expiration of the FAA’s funding extension. Important projects affecting safety and aviation infrastructure modernization would, for the second time in eight weeks, be shut down.

“We urge the Senate to act before the deadline to avert another shutdown and prevent a repeat of the devastating job losses and furloughs we saw last month that severely hurt these dedicated workers and their families,” said NATCA President Paul Rinaldi. “These workers should never again have to make another financial sacrifice due to Washington political gamesmanship. It would be irresponsible and unacceptable.”

Of the 4,000 FAA employees whose jobs are again on the line to be furloughed, NATCA represents nearly 1,200 from its Engineers and Architects, FAA Airports Division and Aviation Technical Systems Specialists bargaining units.

These employees, who also include airport safety inspectors, play a critical role in the ability of the U.S. to claim the mantle of the safest and most efficient air traffic control system in the world. Some of the important safety projects that would again be sidelined in another FAA shutdown include:

-- Salt Lake City: Work on the replacement of the heating and air conditioning system where the ARSR long-range radar is housed is scheduled to start in just a few days. A breakdown of this system would likely cause a radar failure/outage, which would degrade the ability to ensure safety for aircraft in that airspace.

--    Boston Logan International Airport: Improvements to the Runway Safety Area (RSA) for Runway 15R-33L and the design and review of related navigational aids. This is the longest runway at Logan and is especially critical for International departures. It is also the backup runway for Runway 4L, which is used during poor weather. This is a critical runway safety project.

-- Baltimore, Md.: The Runway 10-28 project. Runway 10-28 is the critical CAT II/III runway (used in poor weather) at BWI. All of the navigational aids associated with this runway are being redesigned with a very aggressive schedule. 

-- Newark Liberty International Airport: NATCA and the FAA have been working together to mitigate the dangers of what used to be an unsafe approach that was used for aircraft flying into EWR. Modern technologies have been used to increase safety including RNAV, a precise, performance based navigation program. Work was already stalled in the last shutdown, leading to four months of lost progress.


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