ALPA Blasts Chicago Controllers' Official

WASHINGTON, July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The head of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) said today that complaints and accusations from a controllers' union official in Chicago about delays and other problems at O'Hare Airport were misleading and counterproductive.

``I think our pilots have had their fill of complaints, smokescreens, and fingerpointing by Craig Burzych in the O'Hare tower,'' said Capt. Duane Woerth, president of ALPA.

Burzych is president of the controllers union chapter at O'Hare.

``I don't know what his ultimate goal is, but it doesn't seem to include constructive contributions toward resolving the capacity issues at the airport. Pointing fingers at pilots and throwing around accusations of slow taxi times makes good rhetoric, but the data on movements and taxi times show otherwise,'' Woerth said.

``According to FAA data comparing the month of June to the first twenty days of July, average taxi-out times decreased from 10.69 to 8.18 minutes. Taxi-in times did rise, but by less than half a minute, from 2.74 to 3.19 minutes. On-time departures remained the same at 69 percent. This is hardly proof of a pilot slowdown,'' he said.

``This is not the first time we have heard this kind of story, either. Earlier this year he made allegations about pilot slowdowns at O'Hare. A joint team of representatives from his union, ours, FAA, and airline management came on site to observe operations at the airport. They did not find any evidence of a pilot slowdown then, either,'' Woerth said.

``Interestingly enough, according to news reports I have seen, the FAA is investigating what role some controllers' actions have had in recent increases in non-weather-related delays in and around O'Hare. Perhaps Mr. Burzych should redirect his energy and attention toward matters more closely related to his profession,'' Woerth said