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Washington, DC, April 15, 2013 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen today welcomed a letter to the Obama administration from House and Senate transportation leaders voicing strong concerns over the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) recent decision to close 149 air traffic control contract towers.
“NBAA welcomes this letter from a bipartisan coalition of leaders from the committees of jurisdiction in the Senate and House, who support what NBAA and other general aviation organizations have long stated: air traffic control towers are integral to the nation’s aviation system, and central to the FAA’s ability to support the safest, largest and most efficient aviation system in the world,” Bolen said.
Calling the FAA decision “unprecedented,” the congressional leaders expressed disappointment in their letter to outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, saying “the FAA has yet to address the impact this action may have on aviation system safety or efficiency…It is deeply troubling that the agency seems intent on proceeding with the closure of key air traffic control assets absent adequate safety data and study,” the letter continues.
From the Senate, the letter is signed by Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller (D-WV); ranking Commerce Committee member John Thune (R-SD); Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation; and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), ranking Aviation Subcommittee member.
House signers include Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-9-PA); Rep. Nick Rahall (D-3-WV), ranking T&I Committee member; and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2-NJ), chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation. Review the letter.
In their letter, the seven congressional leaders urge that “lower priority spending” be identified elsewhere for budget reductions, and insist they will continue to urge that the contract towers be kept open.
Bolen said, “The business aviation industry is heartened that leaders in Congress recognize that our aim has been to work with the FAA to limit the impact from sequestration, and keep as many control towers and facilities open as possible.”
NBAA representatives have met with the FAA numerous times since agency officials announced in March their plan to close a host of towers, in response to government “sequester,” or curtailment of annual spending at federal agencies. Partly resulting from efforts by NBAA and other stakeholders, the agency in April removed 40 towers originally slated for closure under its plan.
Last week, the FAA said it was postponing the sequester-driven closure of the 149 remaining towers until June 15 to allow time for further examination.
Bolen added that “NBAA and the business aviation community look forward to providing additional guidance to the FAA in the coming weeks, as agency officials continue their tower-closure review process.”
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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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