Contract Tower Closure Eyed
AOPA is reporting that the FAA is being pressured to close contract control towers at more than 100 GA-only airports. Quoting unnamed sources, AOPA says the Office of Management and Budget has made the suggestion that funding be pulled from contract towers at airports that don't have commercial service or high volumes of military traffic. The funding cuts would affect roughly half of the 248 contract towers, which are independently owned and operated facilities under contract to the FAA.
According to AOPA, the proposal has not been approved by the FAA, which is now discussing it internally. The Contract Tower Association is predictably aghast at the suggestion. "The federal government's budget constraints should not impact such a critical aviation safety initiative like the FAA contract tower program," a representative of the group told AOPA. AOPA is writing the FAA to encourage the continuation of the existing contracts and will be keeping an eye on the developments.