Curbelo, Maloney Introduce Air Traffic Controller Hiring Improvement Act

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Washington, May 24, 2016 | comments

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 Patrick Maloney (NY-18) introduced the bipartisan H.R. 5292, the Air Traffic Controller Hiring ImprovementAct 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. In addition, this bill 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. Furthermore, H.R. 5292 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. 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, the  Air Traffic Controller Hiring ImprovementAct 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 process. 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 that 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.

“Millions of New Yorkers rely on our airports for safe, efficient and convenient travel every year - growing our economy and creating jobs,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY). “Our bill will make sure our airports are adequately staffed and ensure that the next generation of air traffic controllers are prepared to keep our runways and skies safe for all travelers."

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