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President Santa Credits Congress for Passing Critical Steps Toward Fixing ATC Staffing in FAA Reauthorization During Politico Panel on Aviation

NATCA President Rich Santa participated in a panel during Politico’s ‘Flight Path: State of the Airline Industry’ event on June 12 in Washington, D.C. Santa, along with Sharon Pinkerton, Sr. Vice President for Airlines for America (A4A), Erin Witte, Director of Consumer Protection for Consumer Federation of America, and Hassan Shahidi, PhD, President and CEO for Flight Safety Foundation, discussed the critical issues facing the airline industry.  

A variety of issues were discussed, but the panel agreed on one point – one of the most critical challenges currently facing the airline industry was the air traffic controller staffing shortage. Pinkerton stated that A4A believed that ATC staffing was a top priority and were committed to getting the key provisions passed in the bill.  

“We were very pleased with the FAA bill and are very appreciative of Congress’ efforts. Mostly our top priority, frankly, was ensuring that the system was fully staffed,” Pinkerton said. “We worked very closely with NATCA to ensure that FAA would do maximum hiring for the next five years. So, we are very pleased with that provision.” 

Santa echoed Pinkerton’s sentiment, calling the passage of the provisions securing ATC maximum hiring for the life of the bill and the implementation of the Collaborative Resource Workgroup’s (CRWG) staffing model as the basis of the FAA Controller Workforce Plan, a “monumental achievement.” 

“Maximum hiring is a game-changer for us. It allows for our recovery; it allows the healing of our critically understaffed facilities,” Santa said. “And with the new numbers – the collaborative resource workgroup numbers that were developed by the ATO and NATCA, in cooperation with MITRE – getting the bodies in the right facilities is essential. To have the maximum hiring for the next five years and putting them where the traffic is, it is essential to the health of the system.” 

The entire panel discussion can be viewed here

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