NATCA Fuming Over Alleged Cutbacks
With a wave of controller retirements looming, the FAA had announced plans to hire 1,249 new controllers in fiscal year 2006. That plan now has been cut back by as many as 300. "This is a very disturbing development," Doug Church, spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) told AVweb yesterday. "This agency is simply not keeping up with current attrition trends." Congress has told the FAA to cut its budget by 1 percent, said Church, but the cutback in hiring would be 25 percent. "These are positions that the FAA themselves said in December of 2004 were critical," said NATCA President John Carr. More than 15,000 FAA air traffic controllers currently staff 315 facilities across the country.