FAA, NATCA Ink Labor Deal

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Labor peace between air traffic controllers and the FAA has been guaranteed (maybe) by the signing of a two-year extension of their contract. Although much of the contract is unchanged (including the base wage of controllers) the FAA did win some cost-saving measures in the deal. How much they'll be able to save depends on who you talk to. In a statement, the FAA says it will save a maximum of $40 million over four years while the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) says the savings are more like $100 million over the life of the contract. At the core of the cost savings is a "performance-based pay system that ties part of controllers' pay to reductions in runway incursions and operational errors," according to NATCA's news release. The deal increases the number of employees whose pay is partly based on performance from 37 percent to 75 percent and affects 15,000 air traffic controllers. The pact also does away with rules that were opposite to the current goals. In some cases, controllers who transferred from high-traffic facilities because they failed to meet operational requirements were able to keep the higher wages when they returned to the lower-capacity facilities.