...NATCA To Battle Service Cuts...

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Carr said the union will "trump" a component of the plan that will cut hours of operations at 34 yet-to-be-named towers. He said reducing service will inevitably lead to flight delays, and the report acknowledges that if the hiring goals are not met, safety considerations will take precedence over capacity. "We need to tell the flying public to take a good book to the airport because they're going to be there awhile," he said. He said he believes the impending staffing crisis will result in GA's being unwelcome at some airports. "I think you're going to see GA squeezed away from urban areas," he said. "I think that's dangerous." Carr also criticized plans to allow some controllers to work beyond the mandatory retirement age of 56. He said current scientific data suggests there's a sharp decline in sight, hearing and other necessary skills as people hit their mid-50s and that science offers no evidence to justify relaxing the retirement age. "It's a function of physiology," he said. The FAA has published a notice in the Federal Register to allow "exceptional, medically fit controllers" to bypass the retirement cutoff. But Carr said he doesn't think the agency will get many takers. He said most controllers have arranged their affairs (a six-figure income helps) to enjoy a fulfilling retirement beginning at age 56 and he doesn't think there are many who want to work beyond that.