The foremost mission of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is transporting the many thousands of passengers safely throughout the United States and around the world. Airports operate safely throughout the United States with and without towers. On April 7, 2013, the FAA will begin to cease funding for 149 contract control towers in three phases that did not meet the national interest screening criteria. Funding will cease for 24 contract towers on April 7th, 46 contract towers on April 21st, and the remaining 79 contract towers on May 5th. While we regret the need to cease FAA funding of these towers, we have worked to ensure that the airport environment remains safe as we make the transition.
If your airport is one of those affected, we know you have questions. The FAA prepared this guide to help answer some questions you may have on tower closures, and to provide you with an understanding of how to obtain additional information. We have divided this guide into sections.
1. Facilities and Equipment – What happens to the towers and equipment in them, plus
procedures for an airport to create a non-Federal air traffic facility if desired.
2. Personnel – What happens to the contract air traffic controllers and FAA employees currently in the facilities
3. Operations – What the impact is on air traffic, air carrier, and airport operations.
Not all the questions you may have will be answered here. So the FAA will provide a 24-hour help line at 202-267-4376, or questions may be emailed to FCTTransition@faa.gov. General information and Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs) will be posted on the FAA website at www.faa.gov. Inquiries from these sources will be routed to the appropriate FAA Line of Business (LOB) for resolution. Our goal is to provide an initial response within two business days.
Section 1 – Facilities and Equipment
When the FAA ceases funding for control tower operations, the airport operator has a choice. The airport operator may choose to operate as a non-towered airport. The airport operator may also choose to continue providing tower services as a non-Federal control tower. The decision made by the airport operator will most likely affect what happens with the existing tower structure and the equipment inside. The FAA is prepared to discuss the continued use of buildings and equipment with airports for those who desire to continue providing tower services. The FAA will also discuss the availability of reimbursable agreements where the airport can reimburse the FAA to provide other services (e.g., maintenance, logistics support, etc.). Although the provision of air traffic services under the Federal Contract program will cease beginning on April 7, 2013, the FAA will not begin removing equipment and terminating local service agreements immediately. In most cases it will take up to 90 days after the contract tower funding ceases for the FAA to begin disconnecting and removing equipment at the affected towers. FAA owned and maintained equipment that remains with the tower after becoming a non-federal tower will continue to be owned and maintained by the FAA subject to future discussions and possible agreement with the Airport.
The associations have asked Congress for $136.1 million for the fully funded contract towers as well as $10.35 million authorized for the continuation of the Contact Tower Cost-sharing Program.
As part of the agency’s sequestration implementation plan, the FAA will begin a four-week phased closure of the 149 federal contract towers beginning on April 7.
A safety risk assessment (SRA) has identified potential high, medium and low risk hazards for aircraft using W.K. Kellogg Airport (BTL) if the airport’s control tower had been closed by the...
It will delay the closures of all 149 federal contract air traffic control towers until June 15.