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Sat, Mar 23, 2013

NBAA's Bolen Responds To FAA Decision To Close Contract Towers

'We Are Frustrated' By Agency's Move To Close Nearly 150 Towers

NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen released a statement in response to the FAA's decision to proceed with the closure of 149 contract air traffic control towers and other facilities across the United States, to comply with "sequestration," or mandatory budget curtailments required of federal agencies.

"From the time it was determined that government agencies would be required to adhere to the sequestration order, NBAA has recognized the difficulties of this unique and complex situation. Our desire has been to work with the FAA to limit the impact from sequestration, and keep as many control towers and facilities open as possible.

"To that end, NBAA representatives have had numerous face-to-face meetings with top FAA officials to provide options for meeting the challenges faced by the agency. Our suggestions were codified in my March 12 letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Chief Operating Officer David Grizzle, outlining the Association's position on the proposed closures, which also offered suggestions to help mitigate the impact on operations, in the event that tower closures became a reality.

"While it appears FAA officials took some of our concerns into account – 40 towers originally slated for closure will now remain open – we are frustrated that the FAA has nevertheless chosen to move ahead with the closure of 149 facilities targeted in its original sequester-response plan. At the same time, we recognize it's critically important that we continue to cooperate with agency officials to ensure the closures that will happen are as workable as possible for our Member Companies. We will continue working with the FAA with that objective in view.

"As we have repeatedly said, air traffic control towers play an integral role in ensuring America's aviation system remains the safest, largest and most efficient in the world. There are few services more important to all citizens, companies, and communities than aviation, so our work with the FAA will focus on containing, to the greatest degree possible, any negative effects of the agency's decision."

FMI: www.nbaa.org

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