Alexandria, VA, May 10, 2013 – Today, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it will keep open the 149 Contract Towers that the Agency slated for closure on June 15th.
As a result of a budget impasse between Congress and the Obama Administration an automatic spending cut mechanism called "sequestration" required the FAA to find $253 million in savings. The FAA in turn planned to shutter the contract tower program and furlough air traffic controllers to meet this requirement. Congress then stepped in and approved legislation giving the FAA the ability to reprogram existing funds within the FAA's budget to apply towards the contract towers and air traffic controllers.
"NATA is very pleased about this and believes it was the correct decision by the FAA. The contract tower program is one of the most cost effective and efficient safety programs under the FAA's purview," said NATA President and CEO, Thomas L. Hendricks.
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) were instrumental in pushing legislation through Congress that provided FAA with the authority they needed to move these funds. "Senator Moran's leadership in particular was vital to getting this done and we thank him and the other 41 Senators who supported his tremendous work," added Hendricks.
"Saving the contract tower program from extinction by using existing federal funds was accomplished by strong leaders in Congress and an impressive grass roots effort from across the country initiated by a coalition led by the U.S. Contract Tower Association, the National Air Transportation Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association," concluded Hendricks.
Senate passed legislation provides the Secretary of Transportation the funding flexibility
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.
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