NBAA appealed to the FAA to continue remote tower operations at Leesburg Executive Airport (KJYO) in Virginia until an alternative can be developed for the facility, which falls within complex airspace near Washington, D.C. Over the past eight years, Leesburg airport has used a system that would relay operations data captured via cameras and other technologies to a remote tower center located outside the airport. However, the FAA has opted to discontinue its use in June.
NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen maintained that the Saab-developed remote tower system has provided both safety and cost benefits. He noted multiple risk assessments have only demonstrated safety enhancements for both local and itinerant operations and that the FAA in September 2021 issued an operational viability decision to continue with the Saab remote tower system.
“It is concerning that over a dozen safety assessments, an operational viability decision, and years of operational experience, as well as robust investments by the FAA and industry, are being discarded and services will come to an end on the cusp of a busy summer travel season,” Bolen said. “The complexities of the Washington, D.C. airspace and the mix of operations at KJYO are not trivial and must be considered before remote services end.”
Bolen asked that the FAA convene a safety risk management panel to evaluate the situation.