...The New Math: Cost Savings, Efficiency Required...

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Martin (of the FAA) told AVweb that to get the funding required for the hiring program from Congress, the agency -- and the union -- will have to sharpen their pencils. "These are times that present some very valid fiscal constraints and challenges," Martin said. "We cannot show an unwillingness to work smarter and control our costs. These times of expansive budgets are gone." Martin said the whole aviation industry is suffering financially and that that has a direct, bottom-line impact on the FAA: "We are not exempt from the same fiscal challenges." But Carr (of NATCA) suggested that much of the report was structured to soften up the union for the next round of contract negotiations, due to start next year. "That's patently false," said Martin. (Can't we all just get along?) Carr said his initial examination of the 90-page plan (he called the teleconference two hours after receiving a copy) revealed gaps and flaws that make it questionable whether the goals can be reached. "Their numbers just do not add up," he said. He said he's particularly concerned about the fast-track training proposals. "Cutting corners on training cuts corners on safety," he said. "This is nothing more than a Wal-Mart solution wrapped up in a Tiffany's box."