Same Game, Different Takes

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ATC A Defense Function?...

With the House and Senate (not to mention Republicans and Democrats) still wrangling over language about privatization in that FAA funding bill, a bit more fuel was added to the fire last week. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee, proposed shifting command of the air traffic control workforce to the military. Mica plans to hold a hearing Nov. 6 to discuss the possibility. National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President John Carr said Mica's idea "recognizes the inherently governmental function of air traffic control, although we believe the military's priority should be military air traffic control, not civilian," Congress Daily reported last Wednesday. However, such a move would prevent air traffic controllers from joining a union, according to Congress Daily. Carr also expressed concern that a military currently fighting the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan may already be spread too thin to take on the responsibility of the domestic air traffic control system. Of course, it goes without saying that NATCA would oppose any move that would eliminate union representation for the controllers. "We think we should stick with the system we have now," NATCA spokesman Doug Church told AVweb over the weekend. "It's the best system in the world."