NBAA Chief Sounds Warning on Proposed FAA Cuts

 - March 14, 2013, 3:00 PM

With the FAA set to announce its finalized cost-cutting plan under sequestration on Monday–which could result in the closing of nearly 170 air traffic control towers and other agency facilities–NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to outline the business aviation community’s “significant concerns” with the plan and offer proposals for mitigating the situation.

In the letter, Bolen said that NBAA members are “strongly supportive” of the tower facilities and expressed the industry’s intention to work with the FAA to keep the largest number possible in operation.

Bolen also pointed out some other concerns, such as the added burden that tower closures would place on Tracon facilities, since traffic previously managed by the controllers in the to-be-closed towers would need to be handled by the nearest Tracon, including management of IFR traffic.

He is also troubled by the FAA’s plan to reduce aviation support services, such as navaids, communication outlets and airport-lighting capabilities. “As the agency reduces its regular maintenance on those facilities, many could fail, and might not be restored,” Bolen said.

FAA cuts could also negatively affect the Pacific and trans-Pacific route structures often used by business aircraft operators, Bolen added.