2013 Press Releases

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NBAA Lauds Congressional Action to Keep Towers Open and Controllers on the Job

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, dhubbard@nbaa.org

Washington, DC, April 26, 2013 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today welcomed passage of legislation in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that would provide the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with the funding and flexibility necessary to keep air traffic controllers at work and contract air traffic control (ATC) towers open.

The "Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013" authorizes the FAA to redistribute as much as $253 million in agency funds to halt controller furloughs and preserve 149 towers targeted for closure by the agency.

The Senate passed its version of the bill on April 25; the House passed its version of the legislation today. If signed into law by President Obama, the legislation will take effect from now through September 30, the end of fiscal year 2013.

"We applaud the Senate and House for taking action to ensure that ATC facilities nationwide will remain fully staffed, and that FAA will have a means for keeping air traffic control towers open," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.

The FAA has said that the controller furloughs and tower closures are needed for the agency to comply with sequestration, or mandatory spending curtailments required under deficit-reduction legislation passed by Congress last year. The agency's controller-staffing reductions, which took effect nationwide on April 21, have been blamed for significant air travel delays. The FAA had planned to move forward with the tower closures on June 15.

"As we have long said, controllers and towers play an integral role in ensuring that our aviation system remains the world’s safest, largest and most efficient," Bolen said. "We thank Senate and House leaders for passing legislation to keep controllers on the job, and we are especially appreciative Kansas Senator Jerry Moran's work to ensure the bill provides funding flexibility for the FAA to keep the towers open. The bipartisan work done by Congress this week has delivered a win not only for aviation, but for America."

NBAA's support for this week's Senate and House legislation was just the latest action by the association aimed at helping preserve sequester-targeted towers and stopping controller furloughs.

The Association was one of 11 signatories to an April 19 letter to the White House petitioning the Obama administration to provide funding to the FAA to end the controller-furlough program.

NBAA has also supported measures recently introduced in the Senate and House to maintain funding for the contract towers slated for closure this coming June, and the Association recently welcomed calls from House and Senate leaders to the White House for keeping the towers open.

As the FAA in March began to codify plans for closing the towers, NBAA staff met repeatedly with FAA officials to discuss the association’s concerns about the agency's plans – concerns that culminated in a March 12 letter Bolen sent to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, which offered suggestions to help mitigate the sequester’s impact on aviation.

Also in March, in anticipation of tower closures, NBAA issued guidance to Members with tips and tools for operating to non-towered airports.

The legislation passed by the Senate and House this week now moves to the White House for the president's signature.

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 9,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.

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