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Wed, Mar 06, 2013

NATA Issues Call To Action To Prevent Contract Tower Closings

As Many As 238 Towers May Close Due To Sequestration

In a message to its members, NATA urges those in the aviation industry to contact their members of Congress and the FAA concerning the proposed closure of contractor-operated control towers across the country.

"We have mentioned over the last few weeks that as a result of a budget impasse and the subsequent sequestration the FAA plans to close 238 air traffic control towers across the country, including 189 towers that are included in the contract tower program," NATA said in its call to action. "These tower closures are scheduled to begin in early April.
"While NATA supports efforts to reign in federal spending, we also believe that reductions should be done fairly and equitably."
According to data supplied by the FAA, programs, projects, and activities of the agency will be reduced by 5% while the contract tower program will shoulder a 75% reduction (189 contract towers out of 251 total contract towers). NATA believes such a cut will most certainly have a negative impact on safety, emergency medical operations, and some military flights.

NATA calculates that the Contract Tower Program costs approximately $130 million a year. With a cut similar to what other FAA programs are taking under sequestration, the contract tower program would be reduced by $6.5 million.  However, because the program is not a “line item” in the budget, the FAA decided to cut $45 million to $50 million from the program and reduce the number of contract towers by 75%.
The association urges its members to contact the FAA to request that they step back from their current plans to target the contract tower program for disproportional cuts that could lead to tower closures. Reductions in the FAA’s budget should be done fairly, equitably, and without impeding safety. They also urge contacting members of the House and Senate. "Ask them to call and work with their Leaders in the House and Senate to develop a legislative solution that will ensure that the Contract Tower Program be treated as a “line item” program within the FAA’s budget," the association said. "Ask your respective Member and Senators to call and work with (other)  ... Members of Congress to equitably make these spending reductions."



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