ATCA's President and CEO Peter F. Dumont, along with the heads of the US Contract Tower Association, the Regional Airline Association (RAA), the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), Air Council International – NA (ACI-NA), the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), and the Cargo Airline Association (CAA), sent a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11-NJ) requesting no less than $159,000,000 to maintain operations for the program, which has provided essential air traffic safety services for over three decades.
"Contract towers are critical to the health of the National Airspace System (NAS)," Dumont said. "Disruptions to or cuts in service, no matter how small, can negatively affect the entire NAS and the US economy as a whole. Moreover, rural and urban communities alike benefit greatly from these facilities, as does general aviation. We urge Congress to preserve these necessary facilities and the invaluable services they provide our communities."
The Contract Tower Program is made up of 253 towers in 46 states that handle approximately 28 percent of all air traffic control tower (ATCT) aircraft operations in the US. The program's current funding levels only account for about 14 percent of FAA's overall budget allotted to ATCT tower operations.
The letter was also sent to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Ranking Member Rep. Nita Lowey (D-17-NY), as well as to the committee's Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-FL) and Ranking Member Rep. David Price (D-4-NC).
The Air Traffic Control Association (www.atca.org) is dedicated to the progress and safety of air traffic control and works to advance the technology and professionalism of the industry. Founded in 1956 by a group of air traffic controllers, ATCA serves nearly 4,000 members throughout the world—air traffic controllers, as well as associations, educational institutions, the government and military, and companies managing and providing aviation equipment and services.