This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Air traffic control towers at a number of typically busy general aviation airports, including Van Nuys in California, Westchester County in New York, and Meacham International in Texas, are among 93 where the FAA plans to curb operating hours in response to the declines in traffic caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The FAA is planning to implement the new, shortened hours beginning May 4, NBAA advised, adding that this is a temporary measure as part of the agency’s “staffing to traffic” initiative.
Air traffic in the U.S has declined about 65 percent on average since the pandemic took root. The agency evaluated each tower to assess its resource needs during the pandemic and has reached out to the affected airports, industry associations, and lawmakers in drafting the list.
“Making these adjustments allows for continued safe operations throughout the national airspace system while minimizing health risks to our workforce,” the FAA had said in announcing its plans.
NBAA expressed appreciation that the FAA worked with stakeholders to ensure the reduction in hours would have minimal impact on flight operations, said Heidi Williams, director of air traffic services and infrastructure for the association.