Document Outlines What Will Happen With Personnel, Equipment
The FAA has published what it calls a "guidance" document in preparation for the closure of 149 contract air traffic control towers around the country. The agency announced the closures last week, citing the sequestration as making the cuts necessary.
The FAA says the document is designed to help answer some questions pilots and others may have on tower closures, and to provide an understanding of how to obtain additional information. The guide is divided into three sections:
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.
Personnel – What happens to the contract air traffic controllers and FAA employees currently in the facilities
Operations – What the impact is on air traffic, air carrier, and airport operations.
The operator of an airport where the tower is closing 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 says it is prepared to discuss the continued use of buildings and equipment with airports for those who desire to continue providing tower services.
As the FAA terminates its contracts for air traffic advisory services, the affected companies will determine the status of their employees. If the FAA has its own employees housed at these locations, then the necessary agreements will be made with airports to continue housing them or they will be relocated.
The document also offers detailed information about how to operate an uncontrolled airport, including procedures, radio frequencies, and safety information.