Curbelo, Maloney Introduce Air Traffic Controller Act
Washington, D.C.—Air traffic controller (ATC) staffing at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been a concern for many years, but it has now reached a crisis level. The National Airspace System (NAS) has reached a 27-year low for staffing of Certified Professional Controllers (CPC). To address these problems, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) and Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) introduced the bipartisan H.R. 5292 the Air Traffic Controller Act of 2016.
H.R. 5292 would improve the hiring and staffing of air traffic controllers at the FAA. It would facilitate the hiring of more controllers as opposed to slowing it down, which is critical in addressing the ATC staffing crisis. It ensures that Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) graduates and veterans are considered in a separate pool from the general public and requires the FAA to select them from vacancies without subjecting them to FAA’s biographical assessment. It would also recommend the FAA to recruit experienced controllers, including military and Depart of Defense civilian controllers, Federal Contract Tower controllers, and those with prior FAA experience. Furthermore, this bill would raise the maximum entry age for experienced controllers, with a minimum of 52 weeks of experience, from age 31 to 35. Lastly, this bill would allow the FAA to directly notice ATC vacancies to Historically Black Colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, and other minority-serving institutions to promote hiring at these schools.
“This bill is a much needed improvement to not only revitalize our ATC system, but to return confidence to Americans who have felt neglected by the current FAA hiring practices. By including language to guarantee that CTI graduates and veterans are considered for these jobs, we are ensuring that the most qualified people will fill these vacancies. I am very pleased that this bill will also encourage the hiring of students graduating from minority-serving institutions, which includes many South Florida institutions which I am honored to represent in Congress. I thank my fellow co-sponsor, Rep. Maloney, for his support in assuring that there is a steady stream of well-trained Controllers dedicated to maintaining the utmost safety of the United States air traffic system,” said Curbelo.