AOPA Statement on FAA’s Decision to Delay Closure of Contract Towers

Frederick, MD – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) President and CEO Craig Fuller issued the following statement regarding the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) decision to delay the closures of 149 contract air traffic control towers until June 15, 2013. In March, the FAA announced it would close these towers as a result of budget cuts required under sequestration.

“Today's announcement by the FAA that 149 of the nation's air traffic control towers will remain open for a period of time provides the aviation community and the FAA the time it needs to properly assess this proposed budgetary action and we applaud the decision.

“Air traffic control towers provide an added measure of safety and improve efficiency in the airport communities they serve. Years of study and evaluation are spent in the determination that a single tower is warranted and today's decision will insure that policy makers take time to understand the consequences surrounding the closure of towers. As part of the evaluation, we hope the FAA will also use this time to undertake a comprehensive review of the impact of each tower closure to include mix of operations, overlying airspace, type of instrument procedures, and proximity to metroplex airspace.

“This announcement is welcomed for another reason. Thousands of very dedicated men and women play a vital role in the nation's air transportation system through the work they do in air traffic control towers. Today's decision also recognizes their role and the respect we have for the commitment they make and the job they do every day to ensure we fly in the safest air transportation system in the world.”

Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. With a membership base of nearly 400,000, AOPA is the largest aviation association in the world. With representatives based in Frederick, M.D., Washington, D.C., and seven regions across the United States, AOPA provides member services that range from advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight planning products, safety programs and award-winning media products. To learn more, visit