Legislation Would Protect Aviation Safety Professionals and Airspace Safety, Help Avoid Delays & Prevent Disruptions to System Modernization

WASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) today announced its support for the Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2019, introduced by U.S. House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (Ore.), and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Rick Larsen (Wash.), that would authorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to draw from the Airport & Airway Trust Fund (AATF) in the event of a government shutdown. The bill, H.R. 1108, will provide a limited, targeted way of ensuring stability for the aviation system by ensuring that all FAA programs, projects, and activities would continue uninterrupted. NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said, after careful review and consideration, the Union has decided to strongly support the bill because it fully aligns with NATCA’s policies, practices, and core principles.

Rinaldi stated, “There is no doubt that the status quo is broken and has been for some time. The 35-day shutdown was just the latest of many instances in which FAA, its workforce, and the aviation industry were held hostage by a political fight that had nothing to do with aviation. Stop-and-go funding crises wreak havoc on the personal lives of air traffic controllers and other aviation safety professionals, degrade the safety of the National Airspace System, delay critical modernization and infrastructure projects, and exacerbate the current controller staffing crisis.

“During the 35-day shutdown, our members experienced financial stress due to a lack of income, which led to distractions and significant fatigue for people who need to be 100 percent focused on safety. We absolutely cannot endure even one more day living and working under a government shutdown. Our aviation system, which is a national treasure, deserves better. The system requires a stable, predictable funding stream. Chairman DeFazio’s bill provides a better way and it has our full support.”

NATCA’s position on ATC reform remains unchanged.  In order to receive NATCA’s support, the proposed legislation must meet our Four Core Principles for Reform. NATCA has meticulously reviewed the details and implications of this proposed legislation, and has determined that it would:

  1. Ensure the frontline workforce is protected in its employment relationship;
  2. Ensure safety and efficiency remain the top priorities;
  3. Provide for a stable, predictable funding stream that adequately supports air traffic control services, staffing, hiring and training, long-term modernization, preventative maintenance, and ongoing modernization to infrastructure; and
  4. Maintain a dynamic aviation system that continues to provide services to all users, areas, and segments of the aviation community.

MORE INFORMATION: Doug Church, Deputy Director of Public Affairs; 301-346-8245, dchurch@natcadc.org.

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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, 4 Department of Defense air traffic facilities, and 102 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 nearly 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.