There are FAA Contract Control Towers at 256 airports around the U.S., handling 28 percent of all ATC tower operations. The contract control tower program accounts for only 14 percent of the FAA budget for air traffic control tower operations, an efficiency level measured by both DOT and FAA. On February 26 a mixed group of industry association leaders sent a letter to Rep. Nita Lowey (D-17-New York), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, along with Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and several other strategic decision-making representatives and senators imploring they continue funding the program at its full $170 million for Fiscal Year 2020, and leave key language from previous FAA spending bills in place.
“Federal contract towers operate with FAA-staffed facilities as part of a unified national air traffic control system. Absent this highly successful government/industry partnership, many local communities and smaller airports would not receive the safety benefits of ATC services,” said the letter, which was signed by NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen, along with U.S. Contract Tower Association executive director J. Spencer Dickerson, AOPA president and CEO Mark Baker, NATA president Gary Dempsey, NASAO president and CEO Shelly Simi, Cargo Airline Association president Stephen Alterman, RAA president Faye Malarkey Black, Airports Council International–NA president and CEO Kevin Burke, and ATCA president and CEO Peter Dumont.