Protests end furloughing of US air traffic controllers

May 3, 2013

Following resounding protests from the ITF, NATCA (National Air Traffic Controllers Association), PASS (Professional Aviation Safety Specialists) and other organisations, the furloughing of all US FAA employees has been halted.

 On 26 April, the US Congress passed legislation, which had gone through the Senate the night before, allowing the Department of Transportation to transfer $253 million in funds to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) operations account. The president is expected to sign the bill into law.
The ITF and others had warned that the operation of the USA’s National Airspace System was being put in danger by compulsory furloughing (involuntary leave) of FAA air traffic control staff as part of federal ‘sequestration’ cost-cutting.
NATCA executive vice president Patricia Gilbert commented: "Last week's US Congressional action stopping furloughs of air traffic controllers and other aviation safety professionals marked the culmination of this stage of a two-year-long effort by NATCA to protect the safety and efficiency of the US airspace system against the extremely damaging effects of sequestration budget cuts. We wish to thank the ITF for joining a large coalition of organizations that spoke out against the furloughs and supported the best interests of our system."
PASS President Mike Perorne said: "Aviation safety inspectors, systems specialists, aeronautical specialists, administrative personnel andthousands of other professionals at the FAA are the backbone of safe and efficient air travel in this country. We appreciate the support of the ITF and the aviation community, who came together in support of this commonsense solution to a quickly devolving situation, and hope to find a permanent solution that repeals sequestration.”
ITF general secretary David Cockroft added: “The removal of staff, especially at peak traffic flow periods, would have risked airspace safety so we are hugely relieved that the concerns we shared with NATCA and others have beenacted on and safety has been put ahead of cost-cutting.”

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