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Industry urges funding for contract towers

As the House Appropriations Committee is allocating its FY2021 funds, AOPA and eight industry groups are urging the committee to earmark nearly $173 million for the FAA Contract Tower Program.

Photo by Christopher Rose.

For more than three decades, the FAA Contract Tower Program has provided air traffic safety services for 256 airports in 46 states. According to the industry group’s letter, “These 256 towers handle approximately 29 percent of all air traffic control tower (ATCT) aircraft operations in the U.S. but only account for about 10 percent of FAA’s overall budget allotted to ATCT tower operations and save FAA and taxpayers approximately $200 million per year.”

The 38-year-old program has garnered strong bipartisan support as it continues to enhance aviation safety and efficiency. The FAA oversees all aspects of Contract Tower Program operations—including operating procedures, staffing plans, certification, medical tests of contract controllers, security, and facility evaluations. Moreover, all federal contract controllers meet the training standards of the agency.

The Contract Tower Program plays a key role in economic development, disaster relief, law enforcement, emergency medical operations, and military readiness.

AOPA has long supported this crucial government-industry program because it provides significant benefits to smaller airports and local communities.

In addition to AOPA, the letter was also signed by the U.S. Contract Tower Association, the Regional Airline Association, the National Business Aviation Association, the National Air Transportation Association, the Airports Council International–North America, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, the Air Traffic Control Association, and the Cargo Airline Association.

Amelia Walsh
Communications and Research Specialist
AOPA Comms and Research Specialist Amelia Walsh joined AOPA in 2017. Named after the famous aviatrix, she's a private pilot working on her instrument rating in a Colombia 350.
Topics: Advocacy, Capitol Hill, Aviation Industry

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