WASHINGTON – National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi and NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert issued a joint statement today, applauding Congressional passage of an omnibus funding bill that prevents a government shutdown and keeps the government funded through Sept. 30.
“NATCA is pleased Congress has passed an omnibus spending bill that will fund the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through the end of the current fiscal year. NATCA is especially appreciative that the FAA has received an increase in its operations budget. It should enable the FAA to move forward on key issues such as improving air traffic controller staffing and continuing to plan, develop, and implement the myriad of ongoing NextGen modernization projects.
“However, this bill only provides a short-term fix to a long-term problem – the unstable, unpredictable, stop-and-go nature of the current funding stream. The mere threat of a government shutdown causes agencies like the FAA to suspend and delay critical projects in preparation for a shutdown. That means progress is slowed, meetings are postponed, plans are put on hold, and the system suffers. It takes significant time and effort to bring a large agency to a halt, so that must begin before a shutdown even occurs, and it takes even more time to restart it again once a shutdown threat subsides.
“We believe the efficiency of the National Airspace System and the livelihoods of the men and women safeguarding it should not be negatively affected by disagreements over issues unrelated to aviation.
“We thank members of Congress for passing the omnibus funding bill and ask that they continue to address the need for long-term stability of the funding stream.”
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Certified in 1987, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association represents nearly 20,000 highly skilled air traffic controllers, engineers, and other aviation safety-related professionals.
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More information: Doug Church, Director of Communications