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March 08, 2013

Pawn Foreplay: ATC Furloughs with Intent

If (if) you truly wanted to avoid furloughing air traffic controllers in April, you would take these steps:
  • Reduce future R&D funding to a point where present funding is sufficient to cover present operational requirements.
  • Cancel ERAM program. It's over budget, over schedule, and not delivering.
  • Close Federal Contract Towers unless state/local government is willing to pay 50% of the cost.
  • Cancel program where FAA pays for NextGen cockpit instrumentation for airlines. If airlines want the new gadgets, let them buy them - not the taxpayers. This is a Sen. Schumer gift to JetBlue on the taxpayer's dime via the FAA budget.
  • Cancel the Metroplex initiative. The cost savings are an illusion. For instance, the cost savings projections from PCT were never realized. Cancelling the Crystal Palace (the NY-Philly Metroplex) alone will save a billion.
  • Downsize the ATCSCC (Central Flow). It's a bloated non-functional backwater that really only needs about 20% of current staffing. Similarly, reduce the TM staff in the enroute facilities by 50% for the same reason.
  • Reduce non-operational managerial overhead. Remember the notion of one manager or supervisor per eleven subordinates? Check today's ration of overhead to controllers; don't forget the Service Areas, Regions, and ATCSCC.
  • Disband the AOV (Aviation OVersight) AOV is a duplicate internal QA organization introduced solely to bring the FAA up to Euro-ICAO standards. Not to be xenophobic, but seriously?
  • Disband the ATO. (Air Traffic Organization) At one time there were 13 FAA Regions providing Air Traffic oversight. Now there are Three ATO zones each with EnRoute and Terminal (six). The public conceit was they'd remove Air Traffic from the legacy structure and make a nimble responsive operational unit capable of a just culture. The reality was union busting; they wanted to redesign AT so the chain of command no longer mirrored the NATCA organization to reduce union effectiveness. The problem is, they've still got 13 regions providing HR, legal, and medical plus six ATO layers, and now we've got a multi-matrix organization (MMO) and interlocking stakeholders to the degree that any progress is unlikely.
  • Cancel FAA funded diversity training, and FAA partial funding of training at diversity group sponsored events.
  • Stop sending newly hired controllers to complex first facilities where they consume valuable /expensive training resources and wash out. Send them to initial low-activity training facilities and let the strong candidates bid up.

It is extremely unlikely that any of the above will occur, because it suits both the R's and the D's to furlough air traffic controllers along with other government servants. It is, in fact, the mutual intent of both parties, although for different reasons. The effects on the people families pawns will be the same.



Anonymous said...

Got my letter today. Thoughts of quitting dance through my head.

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