National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Patrick Forrey made the following statement on this evenings Senate confirmation of Randy Babbitt, who now begins his five-year term as the new administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration:
On behalf of the air traffic controller workforce and the aviation safety professionals that NATCA represents, I want to congratulate Randy on his confirmation. He takes over an agency that certainly has its share of challenges and problems to fix, but also has dedicated, highly skilled and professional employees on the front lines of the National Airspace System that are represented by an organization NATCA which puts safety above all. NATCA remains completely committed to the safety and efficiency of the NAS and we recognize that technology has the potential to improve safety, expand capacity, and increase efficiency. Thats why we support modernization and the FAAs Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). But NATCA believes that the ultimate success of NextGen is dependent upon collaboration between the union and the FAA. We hope that is now possible under Randys leadership, allowing key NextGen modernization projects, airspace redesign and changes to air traffic control procedures to move forward safely and effectively. As I stated on March 27 when Randy was nominated by the President, he has the opportunity to do great things with our National Airspace System and restore the credibility of an agency in need of a priority readjustment and severe morale boosting. Randy has the worlds most skilled and dedicated workforce of aviation safety professionals and subject matter experts ready to work with him to put safety first and modernize our system to meet the demands of the FAAs true customers, the flying public. But first, this workforce must be assured that its help is wanted and not ignored like the last several years. It is time for a restoration of fairness to FAA labor relations and the opening of the door of collaboration and mutual respect. We wish Randy well as he takes on these great challenges.