Contract Towers provide vital safety services
Their costs of operating are lower than FAA managed Towers
Congress should fund
BULLHEAD CITY — There are 256 small airports in 46 states that participate in the Federal Aviation Administration Contract Tower Program.
Recently, the American Association of Airport Executives, U.S. Contract Tower Associations and a coalition of aviation groups requested to add language to a Federal Aviation Administration bill to fully fund the Contract Tower Program at $170 million.
The Bullhead City/Laughlin International Airport is one of the 256 small airports that participates in the Contract Tower Program.
“The Contract Tower Program allows us to have a control tower at our small airport,” said Jeremy Keating, airport director for Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport. “Since we are not busy enough to support an FAA-staffed control tower, having this Contract Tower Program has been very beneficial to us.”
In a prepared statement, USCTA Executive Director J. Spencer Dickerson said that together the 256 towers handle approximately 28 percent of all air traffic control tower aircraft operations in the U.S. but only 14 percent of FAA’s overall budget goes to those facilities; the program saves the FAA and taxpayers about $200 million per year, according to information from the AAE, USCTA and the Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association.
According to the AAAE/USCTA, some of the benefits of the Contract Tower Program are:
Save taxpayers about $200 million annually;
Enhance aviation safety at airports that otherwise would not have a control tower;
Help airports in retaining and developing commercial air service and general aviation;
Connect smaller and rural airports to the national air transportation system;
Provide significant support for military readiness and national security operations (47 percent of all military operations at civilian airports in the United States occur at FAA contract tower operations); and
Play an essential role in relief and recovery efforts and after hurricanes, wildfires and other natural distorders in the United States.
Keating said that with the control tower being in operation, it makes it safer for all types of aircraft that land at the airport.
“Since we get diverse types of aircraft that have different speeds such as airliners, helicopters, floatplanes and more, it’s important for us to provide them with the best safety possible,” said Keating. “Since we do quite a bit of military operations at our airport, it’s important for us to have a control tower because it makes it so much easier to coordinate. Also, the Contract Tower Program has a lot of veterans as air traffic controllers which is great to see.”
The letter was sent Tuesday to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and the respective Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and related agencies subcommittees.
[companies which manage CTs]
“We are lucky and fortunate to have the Contract Tower Program and the AAAE/USCTA for helping us to keep the program,” said Keating. “We hope that they get the long-term funding because if we lose the control tower, we lose a safety key in airspace in the airport.”
The support for this safety alternative is extensive and highly credible:
CONGRESS WOULD MEET ITS OBLIGATION TO INCREASE SAFETY AND CONTROL EXPENSES BY FULLY FUNDING THE CONTRACT TOWER PROGRAM AT #170 MILLION
Share this article: