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Fri, Mar 22, 2013

PATCO Questions Contract Tower Closings

Says Air Safety Will Be Seriously Jeopardized

The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) issued a statement Thursday following Wednesday's vote in the U.S. Senate on the Continuing Resolution that will keep the government operating through the end of September which did not include an amendment to preserve the contract tower program.

"The decision by Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood and FAA administrator Michael Huerta to close down over 173 Federal Contract Towers (FCT’s) due to sequestration is insane, unjustified, absurd and needs to be stopped," the statement says. "The FCT program has been around for almost 30 years and has been lauded by the DOT’s Inspector General as highly efficient, cost effective and safe.

"The Air Traffic Controllers that man these towers are highly professional, and meet or exceed the same jobs requirements as FAA controllers. They provide a critical service at their respective community airports to ensure that "air safety" is the number one priority.

"Contrary to what the FAA says, the closing of these towers will seriously jeopardize "air safety" and the overall efficiency of the National Airspace System (NAS). The "No Margin for Error" slogan is out the door because the control towers will not be manned.

"Beyond the tower closure, the rippling effect will cause confusion, serious delays and loss of revenues to local airports and the business community as a whole.

Where is the FAA's sanity on this issue?," the statement concludes.



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