WASHINGTON, April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mike Perrone, national president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS), which represents over 11,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, including systems specialists and aviation safety inspectors, released the following statement regarding the continued furloughing of FAA employees:
"The furloughing of FAA employees is having an impact on the aviation system and the flying public is noticing. Systems specialists, aviation safety inspectors, aeronautical specialists, examiners and thousands of other FAA employees work behind the scenes to ensure that planes take off and land on time, equipment is restored, and planes are safe to fly. These employees are being furloughed—they are being forced off the job at least one day every two weeks.
"Pilots cannot safely operate their aircraft if navigational or communications equipment is not operating properly. Systems and airplanes cannot be returned to service if maintenance is not done and the work adequately inspected. If the employees who perform this critical work are not available because they have been furloughed, minor equipment outages or inconveniences can turn into hours of delays.
"The employees who are responsible for this work are a 24/7 workforce for a reason. A problem can arise at any time and, if not addressed quickly, the impact to air travel will last for hours. PASS is already learning of outages of backup systems related to instrument landing systems, radar, backup power, runway/approach lighting systems, remote communications systems, weather sensors and data distribution systems. The issues with these systems and equipment will not be corrected due to budget or personnel shortfalls. In other words, if there is a problem with the primary systems or equipment, there will be no redundancy to ensure continued air traffic operations. The strength of the FAA has always been in its redundancy—making sure there is backup in case something fails.
"If flights are ready to be directed and a plane poised for takeoff, the systems and equipment must be up and running. We get the planes in the air; we make sure the equipment is working so pilots and air traffic controllers can direct your flight; we are there behind the scenes every step of the way. Systems specialists, aviation safety inspectors and other vital FAA employees are critical to the efficiency of the system and should not be furloughed."
For 36 years, PASS has represented more than 11,000 employees of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense who install, maintain, support and certify air traffic control and national defense equipment, inspect and oversee the commercial and general aviation industries, develop flight procedures and perform quality analyses of the aviation systems. For more information, visit the PASS website at www.passnational.org.
Contact: Kori Blalock Keller (202) 293-7277
SOURCE Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), AFL-CIO