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WASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, AFL-CIO, (NATCA) applauds the Senate confirmation today of Michael Whitaker as Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator.  

With Administrator Whitaker confirmed, he can direct the FAA to focus on addressing mandatory overtime which has increased stress and fatigue for a profession that is already one of the most stressful. 

It is NATCA’s hope that Administrator Whitaker makes a long-term commitment to hiring and training that is based on the certified professional controller staffing targets recently developed by the Collaborative Resource Workgroup (CRWG) including implementing maximum hiring of controllers for five years. The CRWG was comprised of officials from FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) and NATCA. The MITRE Corporation’s Center for Advanced Aviation System Development (MITRE CAASD) participated as a third-party independent entity and validated the work of the CRWG.  

These actions are the first steps to addressing the critical issues that affect the safety and efficiency of the National Airspace System (NAS) including an air traffic controller staffing shortage, which has led to the agency assigning mandatory overtime of 10-hour days and six-day workweeks to many controllers across the country. 

As the former Chief NextGen Officer for FAA, we expect Administrator Whitaker to make technology and infrastructure key components of his time in office. For far too long, the FAA has not requested sufficient funding from Congress to meet its equipment and facilities maintenance backlog, much less replace, and upgrade critical systems and facilities that have exceeded their lifecycles with new, advanced technology to improve safety.  

“NATCA congratulates Mr. Whitaker on his confirmation and looks forward to continuing our collaboration with the FAA to address the critical challenges facing the agency,” said NATCA President Rich Santa. “The FAA now has the leadership required to thoroughly address staffing and training shortages, runway safety, and modernization of technology and infrastructure throughout the NAS.”  


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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