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Bipartisan Bill Would Address Critical Shortage of Certified Air Traffic Controllers 

WASHINGTON – NATCA commends Senators Braun (Ind.), Klobuchar (Minn.), Marshall (Kan.), Shaheen (N.H.), Luján (N.M.), and Boozman (Ark.) for introducing the Air Traffic Controllers Hiring Act of 2023, common sense legislation to address the critical shortage of fully certified air traffic controllers by requiring the FAA to conduct maximum hiring over the next five fiscal years. 

As NATCA has said for well over a decade, the FAA continues to experience a shortage of certified air traffic controllers. Currently, there are 1,200 fewer fully certified controllers than there were 10 years ago. As a result, many of them must work mandatory overtime to keep the system staffed. Regular work schedules for many controllers are 10 hours a day, six days per week.  

In June, the Department of Transportation Inspector General wrote, “FAA has made limited efforts to ensure adequate controller staffing at critical air traffic control facilities. As a result, FAA continues to face staffing challenges and lacks a plan to address them, which in turn poses a risk to the continuity of air traffic operations.” 

“This bipartisan bill, which also was included in the version of FAA reauthorization which has passed through the U.S. House of Representatives, would put us on path to fixing staffing shortages so that we can continue to operate the safest, most efficient aviation system in the world,” said NATCA President Rich Santa.  

NATCA urges Senators to co-sponsor this legislation, for the Senate to include this legislation in its FAA reauthorization bill, and ensure it is included in final bill sent to the president. 


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. 

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