Air Traffic Controllers Fault FAA


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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association say the airport would be safer if the FAA installed a key piece of runway technology.

Dennis Kern – a controller at the Sacramento Tower and president of the union’s local branch – says the FAA has scrapped plans to add a surface radar system known as As-D-X.

"We’re just simply not going to get this piece of equipment and it’s a crying shame to the people that fly in and out of this airport."

The system allows controllers to see all airport movements in all kinds of weather.

But Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer says they haven’t made a final decision yet on whether to add As-D-X in Sacramento. He says the union’s accusations have more to do with stalled contract talks.

"Right now the FAA and NATCA are in the middle of contract negotiations. We’re rapidly and aggressively installing new technologies across the country and we could do more, more quickly if it weren’t for the fact that 80% of our agency’s money goes for labor costs."

Union officials however say their concerns are not related to contract negotiations. They also claim the FAA is has slow to slow to replace soon-to-be retiring workers.