Washington, DC, May 10, 2013 -
National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen welcomed today's announcement by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that 149 contract air traffic control (ATC) towers, slated for closure next month, will instead remain open throughout the federal government's 2013 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
"We applaud the decision by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to leave these towers open," Bolen said. "As we have long said, these tower facilities are integral components in the world's safest, largest, most diverse and most efficient aviation system.
"Without the threat of imminent closure, DOT and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will now have the additional time necessary to develop a thorough and informed plan to manage the agency's priorities under mandatory budget sequestration," Bolen added.
The FAA's announcement comes following significant concerns about the tower closures that have been raised by elected officials at all levels of government.
Legislation introduced earlier this month in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, entitled the "Reducing flight Delays Act of 2013," provided authority for the FAA and DOT to reallocate up to $253 million in available funds.
That intent of the legislation was underscored in Congressional letters, signed by 82 House representatives and 41 senators, calling on LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to keep the towers open. Learn more about the House and Senate efforts to preserve contract tower facilities. http://www.nbaa.org/news/pr/2013/20130506-044.php
The FAA announced in early March its intent to close the towers, which are located across the country, in order to comply with budget sequestration, or budget curtailment at all federal agencies.
In the weeks following that announcement, NBAA repeatedly met with FAA officials to outline the industry's concerns about the agency's tower-closure plan. The concerns NBAA expressed in those meetings culminated in a March 12 letter from Bolen to Huerta, offering suggestions to help mitigate the impact of the tower closings on operations. Review Bolen's letter in its entirety