By AOPA ePublishing staff
The FAA has made a commitment that it will not contract out the control tower at Southeast Texas Regional Airport (BPT) for five years.
The move was cemented in writing by Robert Sturgell, FAA acting administrator, in response to a letter from Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas). The response came on April 9, a day before the FAA was slated to close the Beaumont (Texas) Tracon and consolidate the facility’s functions into the Houston Tracon.
The letter backs up what pilots were told at a previous meeting. Pilots will receive 24-hour terminal radar services and clearances following the consolidation, two services currently available only part-time at BPT. Also, the FAA will provide services to smaller airplanes flying under VFR, including flight following, and continue, at least for the short term, to provide radar surveillance, or ASR, approaches. These were top concerns expressed by AOPA.
The FAA will provide a public meeting after the transition takes place to get feedback from pilots. The FAA also will keep the area’s congressional delegation informed, with regular progress updates during the first 180 days.
April 10, 2008