AOPA Welcomes FAA Decision to Keep Contract Control Towers Open

May 10, 2013

Frederick, MD – Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association (AOPA) President and CEO Craig Fuller welcomed an announcement today by the FAA today that it will keep open 149 contract control towers that were slated to be closed as part of sequestration spending cuts.

In a statement, Fuller said:

"We are pleased that the FAA has decided to use the flexibility granted by Congress to keep 149 air traffic control towers open and operating as lawmakers intended. The decision helps ensure the continued safety and efficiency of our general aviation airports and the national air transportation system as a whole. The entire aviation community has worked diligently for this outcome, and we hope that any future spending cuts necessitated by sequestration will be made only after a comprehensive and thoughtful evaluation of their impact on system users.”

There are about 500 control towers in the United States, and 251 of them are contract control towers operated by private companies. The contract towers are recognized as among the FAA’s most cost and safety efficient programs, operating for significantly less than the remaining towers managed directly by the FAA.
The contract towers that the FAA planned to close June 15 serve mostly the general aviation airports used most often by AOPA’s nearly 400,000 members.

Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. With a membership base of nearly 400,000, AOPA is the largest aviation association in the world. With representatives based in Frederick, M.D., Washington, D.C., and seven regions across the United States, AOPA provides member services that range from advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight planning products, safety programs and award-winning media products. To learn more, visit www.aopa.org.  

- AOPA -
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