House FAA Funding Bill Signals Continued Strong Support for Contract Towers
Alexandria,VA –The U.S. Contract Tower Association (USCTA),an affiliate organization of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE),today commended leaders and members of a key House funding subcommittee for providing $140 million in dedicated funding aimed at ensuring that 251 contract towers across the country remain open and operational beyond September 30 and throughout the upcoming fiscal year. The funding is included as part of the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Transportation (DOT),Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other agencies now working its way through the House of Representatives and covers the fiscal year (2014) that runs from October 1 through September 30,2014.
“The inclusion of $140 million in dedicated funding for the Contract Tower Program as part of the House FAA funding bill is significant and reaffirms the strong support that exists in Congress for keeping contract towers open well into the future,even under difficult budget circumstances,”USCTA Executive Director J. Spencer Dickerson said. “Elected officials from both parties and on both sides of the Capitol continue to view the Contract Tower Program as a high priority too important to be targeted for disproportionate funding cuts,and we appreciate the continued bipartisan,bicameral support that exists for keeping contract towers open and operational beyond September 30 and long into the future.”
Earlier today,the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation,Housing and Urban Development,and Related Agencies met and approved its version of the fiscal year 2014 spending bill for DOT,FAA,and other federal agencies. The draft measure,which is scheduled to be considered by the House Appropriations Committee next Thursday,proposes $140 million in dedicated funding for the Contract Tower Program,including $10.35 million for the Contract Tower Cost-Share Program. The Senate is scheduled to begin consideration of its version of the annual FAA funding bill next week.
USCTA has advocated for additional specificity in the annual DOT/FAA funding bill with regard to the Contract Tower Program to ensure that critical facilities supported by the program are not targeting for closure because of sequestration and other factors.
# # #
ABOUT USCTA:The U.S. Contract Tower Association was created by the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) in 1996 to promote the benefits of the Contract Tower Program and to enhance aviation safety at smaller airports across the country.
ABOUT AAAE:Founded in 1928,AAAE is the world’s largest professional organization representing the men and women who work at public-use commercial and general aviation airports. AAAE’s 5,000-plus members represent some 850 airports and hundreds of companies and organizations that support the airport industry. Headquartered in Alexandria,Va.,AAAE serves its membership through results-oriented representation in Washington,D.C.,and delivers a wide range of industry services and professional development opportunities,including training,conferences,and a highly respected accreditation program.
CONTACT: J. Spencer Dickerson Executive Director U.S. Contract Tower Association (703) 824 0500,Ext. 130
Joel D. Bacon Vice President,Airport Legislative Alliance (703) 824-0500,Ext. 154
Gwen Basaria Director,Legislative and Regulatory Communications (703) 824-0500,Ext. 187
AAAE/USCTA Applaud Decision to Keep Contract Towers Open
Alexandria,VA – J. Spencer Dickerson,Executive Director of the U.S. Contract Tower Association (USCTA),released the following statement in response to the decision today by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to continue operations through the fiscal year at 149 contract towers previously scheduled for closure on June 15:
“We are grateful that the leaders of DOT and the Federal Aviation Administration have moved to utilize the clear authority provided by the Congress to keep contract towers open and operational beyond June 15. The broad coalition of communities,airports,air traffic controllers,aviation system users,and Members of Congress that has emerged in recent months united in the fight to keep contract towers open is a testament to the important role these facilities play in enhancing the safety and efficiency of the nation’s aviation system. In particular,we appreciate the leadership of the dozens of senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives who have worked diligently to ensure that these important air traffic facilities remain open now and well into the future. Their dedication and determination give us great hope for the long-term success of the Contract Tower Program.”
The USCTA is an affiliate organization of the American Association of Airport Executives(AAAE).
Alexandria,Va. – In response to warnings from the Department of Transportation that hundreds of Federal Aviation Administration contract towers and FAA-staffed air traffic control (ATC) towers could be closed in the near future because of sequestration and across-the-board budget cuts scheduled to occur beginning March 1,the U.S. Contract Tower Association (USCTA),an affiliate organization of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE),today renewed its call on Congress and the Administration to reach an agreement to avert impending cuts to the FAA’s budget for control towers and other vital programs.
“The Contract Tower Program has a well-established record of success in enhancing air safety and efficiency in communities across the country in a cost-effective manner to taxpayers,” USCTA Executive Director J. Spencer Dickerson said. “The prospect of closing nearly 195 contract towers nationwide along with 43 FAA-staffed towers because of sequestration is inconceivable given the very real impact it would have nationwide,and yet it appears to be a real possibility. The USCTA urges Congress and the Administration to reach an agreement that protects vital FAA programs,such as control towers,and limits disruptions to airports and the nation’s aviation system.”
According to DOT,sequestration would necessitate some $600 million in budget cuts for the FAA over the remainder of the fiscal year. DOT has warned that the cuts could result in a number of changes that could impact operations throughout the air transportation system,including the possible closure of 195 contract towers and 43 FAA-staffed towers. (View the entire DOT list here.) The 238 towers are nearly 50 percent of control towers nationwide.
The USCTA is concerned about the impact such closures could have on safety and efficiency;military and emergency response operations;and local economies in affected communities throughout the country.
Additional details on the potential cuts and on the history and benefits of the Contract Tower Program can be viewed at this link.
ABOUT USCTA: The U.S. Contract Tower Association (www.contracttower.org) was created by the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) in 1996 to promote the benefits of the Contract Tower Program and to enhance aviation safety at smaller airports across the country.
ABOUT AAAE: Founded in 1928,AAAE (www.aaae.org) is the world’s largest professional organization representing the men and women who work at public-use commercial and general aviation airports. AAAE’s 5,000-plus members represent some 850 airports and hundreds of companies and organizations that support the airport industry. Headquartered in Alexandria,Va.,AAAE serves its membership through results-oriented representation in Washington,D.C.,and delivers a wide range of industry services and professional development opportunities,including training,conferences,and a highly respected accreditation program.
(contact Spencer Dickerson of AAAE/USTCA at 703/824-0500,ext. 130;firstname.lastname@example.org for further details)
The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and its affiliated organization,the U.S. Contract Tower Association (USTCA),express great concern over the potential adverse impact that the pending federal budget sequestration,effective March 1,2013,would have on the operations of FAA contract towers and the safety of the national air transportation system. AAAE/USCTA urges Congress to protect funding for this critical aviation safety program.
The recent Department of Transportation Inspector General report on the contract tower program (11/5/12) makes it clear – contract towers enhance aviation safety at smaller airports in a cost-effective manner to taxpayers that otherwise would not have a tower. If contract towers are closed because of sequestration,many local communities would lose the significant safety benefits of air traffic control (ATC) services.
The nation’s 251 FAA contract towers,which handle 28 percent of tower operations in the U.S.,work together with FAA-staffed air traffic facilities as part of a unified national ATC system and serve a wide variety of aviation users. For instance,many contract towers handle significant air carrier operations,including commercial service airports in Kona and Lihue in Hawaii;Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport;Phoenix-Mesa in Arizona;San Luis Obispo,Redding and Santa Maria in California;Redmond and Medford in Oregon;Stewart,New York;Branson and Columbia in Missouri;Latrobe,Pennsylvania;Lewisburg,West Virginia;Hyannis,Massachusetts;Charlottesville,Virginia;Key West,Panama City and Gainesville in Florida;Bozeman,Missoula and Kalispell in Montana;Hailey,Lewiston,and Idaho Falls in Idaho;Eagle and Grand Junction in Colorado;Jackson and Cheyenne in Wyoming,and Rapid City,South Dakota.
Additionally,many FAA contract towers across the country provide the primary link between rural communities and the national transportation system. Other contract towers serve as busy reliever airports and are vital to the safe and efficient movement of general aviation traffic in major metropolitan areas such as Chandler,Goodyear and Glendale in Phoenix;Opa Locka in Miami;Brown Field in San Diego;Whitman in Los Angeles;Arlington,McKinney,Grand Prairie and Spinks in Dallas;Martin State Airport in Baltimore;Fulton County in Atlanta;Waukegan in Chicago;Troutdale in Portland,Oregon;Lunken Field in Cincinnati,and Anoka in Minneapolis.
The U.S. military is a long-time advocate and user of FAA contract towers. Among the contract tower airports with extensive military operations are Cecil Field,Florida;Mobile Downtown and Dothan,Alabama;Millington,Tennessee;Golden Triangle,Mississippi;Enid,Lawton and Stillwater,Oklahoma;Victoria and San Angelo,Texas;Topeka Forbes and New Century,Kansas;Battle Creek,Michigan;Martin State Airport,Maryland,and Stewart Airport,New York.
Should sequestration occur and contract towers close (even temporarily),there would be severe operational impacts on the national aviation system. First and foremost,tower controllers give first priority to separating aircraft and issuing safety and weather alerts. Without controllers in the tower,no one will be performing critical these safety functions.
Additionally,in most cases,the Class D airspace assigned to the contract tower locations would revert to Class E airspace. When this occurs,the overlying radar facility (terminal or enroute FAA facilities) would then be responsible for the operations normally worked by the contract towers. As such,workloads would increase dramatically for FAA facilities at the very same time those facilities will be facing the possibility of reduce staffing due to sequestration. These developments would have a significant negative safety and efficiency impact on the ATC system nationwide.
There also would be significant impacts on military operations throughout the country since most military training missions require operational control towers. Also,air traffic controllers are the first line of defense for pilots and passengers in the event of an aircraft accident. Tower controllers are likely to be the first to know of an aircraft in distress,and they become the focal point for a rapid and effective emergency response. Furthermore,many contract towers have flight schools. Student pilots must conduct portions of their training at airports with a tower. Closing contract towers will force these students to fly into busier airports,introducing slow-flying student piloted aircraft into the busy environment of larger commercial airports that will decrease the efficiency of these operations and negatively impact safety.
FAA contract tower communities desire and deserve the safety benefits that these facilities provide. We are encouraged by the successful and highly effective partnership that FAA,airports,contract controllers,ATC contractors,FAA controllers and aviation users have developed over the past three decades,and we urge Congress to continue its critical support of this program.
Airline Maintenance Services,Inc. expands business at the Nashville International Airport
American Eagle Airlines,Inc.,a wholly owned subsidiary of AMR Corporation recently signed an expanded maintenance agreement with Airline Maintenance Services,Inc.
Nashville,Tennessee October 17,2012:Airline Maintenance Services,Inc. (AMS) announced today that they have recently signed an expanded maintenance agreement with American Eagle Airlines,Inc.. American Eagle Airlines,Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AMR Corporation,the parent company of American Airlines. This expanded agreement will include AMS Technicians meeting each American Eagle flight as it arrives at the gate in Nashville as well as performing overnight checks and “run taxi” checks. AMS technicians are currently undergoing training on the Embraer and Canadair regional jets that American Eagle flies. To support the expanded role of AMS at Nashville the company recently moved into larger facilities in the Air Freight building. Additionally,AMS is seeking to hire six additional Technicians. The company expects to be fulfilling the terms of its new agreement before the end of the year.
Corey Gillard,AMS President,said “Providing on call service to airliners filled with anxious passengers and crew and working with gate agents and ground crew who are under pressure for on-time departures can be daunting and stressful. The AMS team of highly skilled and professional technicians do so daily with an enviable record for safety,quality,and speed. We are looking forward to serving American Eagle Airlines in this expanded role.”
About Airline Maintenance Services,Inc.
Airline Maintenance Services,Inc (AMS) provides airlines at Nashville International Airport “line maintenance” services. AMS services can include routine items such as Oxygen or Nitrogen servicing and engine and APU oil. AMS services can be as involved as tire and brake changes or assisting in the removal and replacement of entire engines. AMS also has a retail maintenance facility in Tupelo,Mississippi that specializes in corporate turbine and turboprop aircraft. AMS contracts with the City of Tupelo to run the Fixed Based Operation at the airport. This FBO provides hangars and fuel to various corporate,military and airline tenants. For more information about AMS email Erick Larson,Director of Business Development at email@example.com or visit the company webpage at www.airlinems.com or the company social media pages at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Airline-Maintenance-Service-Inc/179140772163927 and https://twitter.com/A_M_S_Inc.
About American Eagle Airlines,Inc.
American Eagle Airlines is the regional partner of American Airlines and a member of the oneworldsm Alliance. American Eagle operates a fleet of more than 280 aircraft,with hubs in Chicago O’Hare,Dallas/Fort Worth,Los Angeles,Miami,New York LaGuardia,New York Kennedy and San Juan. For more information about American Eagle visit the company website at http://www.aa.com/i18n/amrcorp/newsroom/corporate-information.jsp.
Mr. Joshua D. Abramson Executive Director Tupelo Regional Airport 2704 W. Jackson Street Tupelo,MS 38801
Dear Mr. Abramson:
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),Southern Region,Airports Division is presenting the Airport Safety Mark of Distinction Award to the Tupelo Regional Airport for their efforts related to wildlife hazard management,delineation of the runway safety areas,and management and oversight of a runway construction project.
By removing trees and brush and clearing and grading drainage ditches within the Airport Operations Area,you have eliminated standing water and habitat for potential wildlife hazards to aircraft. Your delineation of the boundaries of the runway safety area with frangible red and orange markers has enhanced your staffs ability to effectively inspect these areas completely during their daily inspections. Ground preparation for the runway construction project consisted of over 400 truckloads of fill per day and this was accomplished without a single Vehicle/Pedestrian Deviation Runway Incursion or Surface Incident due to appropriate oversight and coordination with the Air Traffic Control Tower. The FAA Airports Division developed this award to promote safety among the FAA Southern Region certificated airports and to recognize any action,effort,or event involving an airport that deserves praise for its intended or demonstrated effect on the advancement of safety.
You and your staff are to be praised for the above mentioned efforts in maintaining an improving the overall safety of your airport.
Great Job! Sincerely, Winsome A. Lenfeli Manager,Airports Division