The National Air Traffic Controllers Association's (NATCA) annual conference was held this week in Las Vegas.
Among the key presenters at the three-day event were Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta and his deputy administrator, Mike Whitaker, as well as Air Traffic Organization Chief Operating Officer Teri Bristol and the organization's Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Senior Adviser Marke "Hoot" Gibson.
"I want to thank our entire controller workforce for everything they do to keep our system the safest in the world,” Huerta said during a presentation at the conference. “The proof of that success is in our unparalleled safety record. We all know it is a direct result of the dedication and professionalism shown by our controller workforce every day.”
Whitaker reminded the audience that "aviation safety is a team effort."
"When it comes to keeping our skies safe, NATCA is one of our most important members,” Whitaker said.
The FAA and NATCA have been working in tandem to develop the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS), an initiative aimed at upping the quality of computer systems used by air traffic controllers and getting all those systems operating from one central platform. STARS is expected to be in use later this year in terminals in metropolitan areas such as New York and Chicago; all terminals should have the system in place by the end of 2019.