March 18, 2012

NBAA has joined with other aviation groups to request that Congressional lawmakers approve full funding of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Contract Tower Program, and support an important cost-sharing program for those towers.

Established in 1982, the FAA Contract Tower Program allows the agency to contract with private operators to provide air traffic control services at smaller airports. Currently, 249 general aviation airports in 46 states benefit from the safety and efficiency provided by contract towers.

The March 16 letter – signed by NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen, along with leaders of 11 other aviation groups – calls on the members of the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees to approve the full $136.1 million requested by the FAA for the program, as well as an additional $10.35 million to continue a cost-sharing effort that splits tower funding requirements with local communities. President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal would cut $2 million from the program and place a larger funding burden on the communities benefitting from the contract towers.

Download the industry letter about the FAA Contract Tower Program (81KB, PDF)

“…These 249 towers handle approximately 28 percent of all air traffic control tower (ATCT) aircraft operations in the U.S. but account for just 14 percent of FAA’s overall budget allotted to total ATCT tower operations,” read the letter to Chairman Harold Rogers (R-5-KY) and other committee members. “Full funding of the contract tower program will permit continuation of this important FAA safety program and allow additional non-towered airports to receive the vital safety benefits of a control tower.”

The letter added that the program’s safety and financial benefits have been repeatedly proven in safety audits by the DOT Inspector General (IG) and FAA, as well as by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Other signatories of the letter included J. Spencer Dickerson, senior executive vice president for the American Association of Airport Executives; Craig Fuller, president and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Roger Cohen, president of the Regional Airlines Association; Henry M. Ogrodzinski, president of the National Association of State Aviation Officials; Greg Principato, president of Airports Council International – NA; Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association; Pete Dumont, president of the Air Traffic Control Association; James Coyne, president of the National Air Transportation Association; Stephen Alterman, president of the Cargo Airline Association; Edward Faberman, executive director of the Air Carrier Association of America; and Stanley Bernstein, president of the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association.