Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said during a speech Monday at the Aero Club of Washington that funding instability has put the U.S. airspace system at a “breaking point.”
Rinaldi told his audience that the Federal Aviation Administration has struggled to implement programs to modernize ATC infrastructure and maintain adequate staff at ATC facilities due to spending cuts.
“The status quo of unstable, unpredictable funding for the National Airspace System has led to serious problems at the FAA. Something has to change,” he added.
FAA is forecast to experience an operations budget shortfall of more than $253 million if sequestration returns next fiscal year, according to Rinaldi.
He called for the development of a budgetary framework that would help FAA deliver missions and finance ATC services, staffing, hiring, training, modernization and preventative maintenance efforts.
“We must continue to create an environment that continues aviation growth, allowing the integration of new users, new thought and new technology, while continuing to maintain our global leadership,” Rinaldi told his audience.