We Guide You Home


(WASHINGTON) – The following is the official statement of NATCA President Rich Santa on the state of air safety and staffing: 

“The top priority for every air traffic controller is safety. Our Union is proud of the work our air traffic controllers and other aviation safety professionals do to keep the National Airspace System (NAS) running safely and efficiently. We continue to work with the FAA to collaboratively identify safety hazards and develop corrective actions to reduce risk in the NAS. However, staffing shortages throughout the NAS have placed a tremendous amount of strain on air traffic controllers.  

“We saw the effect that air traffic controller staffing shortages had on air travel this summer, and although there has been an increased focus on training, the hiring process to overcome the staffing shortage takes years. As mentioned in the New York Times article, the controller workforce is down 10 percent over the last decade and there are many air traffic controllers working mandatory overtime – 10-hour shifts, six days a week. Air traffic controllers are doing an exemplary job in a very difficult situation, but this is not sustainable.  

“We need a long-term commitment to hiring and training that is based on the controller staffing targets recently developed by the Collaborative Resource Workgroup (CRWG), which is also mentioned in the New York Times article. The CRWG was comprised of officials from FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) and NATCA. NATCA is ready to work with the FAA to implement the CRWG’s recommendations, which is a necessary part of the long-term solution to air traffic controller staffing.” 


Galen Munroe, Deputy Director of Public Affairs; 202-220-9802, [email protected]. 

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) is a labor union and aviation safety organization in the United States that represents nearly 20,000 highly skilled air traffic controllers, engineers, and other aviation safety-related professionals. NATCA was certified in 1987 by the Federal Labor Relations Authority to be the exclusive bargaining representative for air traffic controllers employed by the Federal Aviation Administration. Today, NATCA is one of the strongest labor unions in the federal sector and represents a range of aviation safety professionals in 15 FAA bargaining units, five Department of Defense air traffic facilities, and 123 federal contract towers. These air traffic controllers and other aviation safety professionals make vital contributions to the U.S. economy and make modern life possible by coordinating the safe, orderly, and expeditious movement of one billion aviation passengers and millions of tons of freight within the National Airspace System each year. NATCA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. 

Jump to top of page