AAAE's U.S. Contract Tower Association (USCTA), as part of a coalition of aviation groups, has written to leaders of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to emphasize the vital role that contract towers play in improving safety and saving taxpayer dollars.
The coalition requested that language be included in an FAA appropriations bill to ensure contact towers can continue to operate without interruption.
"The FAA Contract Tower Program has provided cost-effective and essential air traffic safety services for over three decades," wrote USCTA Executive Director Spencer Dickerson and the leaders of eight other aviation groups. "Together these 254 towers handle approximately 28 percent of all air traffic control tower (ATCT) aircraft operations in the U.S. but only account for about 14 percent of FAA's overall budget allotted to ATCT tower operations. More importantly, the safety and efficiency record of the FAA Contract Tower Program has been validated numerous times by the DOT Inspector General, as well as by FAA safety audits."
As the House and Senate appropriations committees work on an FAA bill that will set the agency's funding for fiscal year 2019, the letter requests legislative language ensuring that the contract towers are fully funded at $172 million. That proposal, which has strong bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress, ensures contract towers are fully funded from existing accounts and does not require an additional appropriation of limited taxpayer dollars.
In addition to Dickerson, the letter was signed by leaders of the Regional Airline Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the National Business Aviation Administration, the National Air Transportation Association, ACI-NA, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, the Air Traffic Control Association, and the Cargo Airline Association.