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Fri, Jun 30, 2006

NATCA Says FAA Contract Discourages Controller Transfers

Transferred Controllers Start Over On Pay Scale

As part of the agency's attempt to cut costs, the Federal Aviation Administration has temporarily halted transfers for many controllers looking to make the move from smaller control facilities to larger towers or TRACONs.

It's all part of the new pay contract the FAA imposed on controllers last month, after an impasse was declared between the agency and controllers... and the New York Times reports the move may change how controllers are recruited to busier control facilities.

Under the old agreement... if a controller moved from a smaller facility, to one that handles more planes --say, from a high-altitude Air Route Traffic Control Center, to a busy airport control tower. -- they would have received a significant bump in pay.

Now, however, that same controller would have to start out near the bottom of the pay scale, and work their way up at the new facility... if the transfer was approved at all.

The current moratorium comes as the FAA officials work out "transition issues" before veteran controllers can decide if they want the added challenge and prestige -- and lesser pay -- of transferring to a busier center.

Does that sound like the FAA is discouraging more experienced personnel from transferring to busier facilities?

Well, Ruth Marlin of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) would agree... and, she says, the end result could be less experienced controllers in some of the busiest towers and TRACONS in the country.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.natca.org

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