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Thu, Feb 22, 2024

Congressman Donalds Calls to Modernize ATC At Page Field

Fort Myers Airport Looking a Little Ragged, Say Locals

Fort Myers airport tower "needs to be modernized and rebuilt" according to a letter to the FAA from Southwest Florida Representative Byron Donalds.

“The antiquated Air Traffic Control Tower at Page Field is of great concern to several aviation companies, aircraft owners, aviation flight academies, and individuals that live in the Southwest Florida community… My office has heard of several instances of unprofessional Tower controller actions," said Donalds. "While there may be an argument that the Tower is underfunded, I believe the FAA should be concerned and brought into the conversation when safety risks present themselves. Though I understand that Tower controllers are often overwhelmed and overworked balancing several different operational roles, there is no excuse for unprofessionalism and inadequate communication."

"I also find it insufficient that, oftentimes, the Tower only has one controller handling all Tower operations," he added. "Around the country, air traffic control towers are generally operated by three individuals - with each individual controller handling a single key function. In my view, it's never acceptable to task a single controller with managing these three crucial operational functions. In the alternative, I believe a minimum of two controllers should be handling Tower operations at all times - particularly during busy times of day and through the entirety of SWFL's tourist season."

Along with his concerns, Donalds inquired about the duration and scope of tower modernization, as well as how much priority funding would be allotted under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. He also poses questions regarding subcontracting in the ATC field, inquiring about how the FAA gauges progress and performance for such towers.

The FAA affirmed that it would respond directly to Representative Donalds.

FMI: https://donalds.house.gov/

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