WASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) today applauds the full funding of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, as part of the passage of the “Cromnibus” spending bill approved last week. At the same time, NATCA President Paul Rinaldi warns that sequestration remains a threat to the modernization and stability of the National Airspace System (NAS).
“The ground beneath our NAS has settled for the moment, thanks to the work of Congress to pass this funding bill,” Rinaldi said. “However, this is only a nine-month deal. Sequestration is a 10-year law. We cannot forget how damaging sequestration was in 2013 for the NAS and for the aviation safety professionals who work so hard maintaining it as the safest, most efficient, and most complex in the world.”
Aviation creates nearly 12 million jobs that contribute $1.5 trillion to the nation’s gross domestic product. Every day, there are 70,000 flights that transport two million passengers. Thus, said Rinaldi, this FY15 spending bill is a “nice holiday present” for both travelers and the NAS.
However, he added, NATCA and its fellow stakeholders in the aviation system must continue to advocate for long-term funding stability.
“The current stop-and-go funding process increases costs and makes planning for complex modernization projects impossible. Stable long-term funding is needed to keep progress moving forward,” Rinaldi said.
NATCA’s collaboration with the FAA and the industry couldn’t be better and NextGen is advancing due to this collaborative effort. NATCA is issuing an update today on several NextGen programs that are progressing well, with notable recent successes. It’s our second quarterly issue of NextGen Now, available by clicking here.
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“NextGen is happening now,” Rinaldi said. “This is why stable funding for the long term is so critically important. The progress of modernization, as well as an effective pipeline for hiring and training the controller workforce to use the tools of a more modernized system, cannot and must not be slowed or stopped again if the U.S. is to maintain its standing as the world leader in aviation.”