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A4A’s Sharon Pinkerton Talks FAA Reauthorization on Full Measure

Airlines for America’s (A4A) Senior Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Policy Sharon Pinkerton joined Full Measure this Sunday to discuss Congress’ final push to pass FAA reauthorization.

In a sit-down interview with reporter Lisa Fletcher, Pinkerton stressed the importance of getting the bill across the finish line for the agency, airlines and passengers.

Fletcher asked Pinkerton about the ongoing air traffic controller shortage the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) currently faces. The agency is short almost 3,000 controllers, and Pinkerton said it’s a “top priority” of A4A to help the FAA close that gap.

“It is absolutely our top priority to help the FAA and DOT solve what is a critical shortage of air traffic controllers,” Pinkerton said.

The shortage can be particularly felt at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control facility – commonly referred to as N90 – which oversees airspace above the New York City area. Airlines have trimmed their schedules to alleviate some of the pressure points caused by the low ATC staffing.

“Frankly, it hurts the flying public when we offer 10% fewer flights,” Pinkerton told Fletcher.

If passed, FAA Reauthorization would require the agency to conduct maximum hiring of air traffic controllers.

This comes as airlines head into what’s expected to be a record-breaking summer travel season. Fletcher asked Pinkerton what travelers can expect.

“The vast majority of delays and cancellations are a result of weather,” Pinkerton said. “Certainly, we’ve seen the air traffic controller shortage impact, and obviously carriers have things come up to whether it is an issue we have addressed or crew timing out.”

The interview aired on more than 80 Sinclair broadcast stations across the country.

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