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), 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.
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. 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.
According to Sugar Land’s spokesperson, the air traffic control tower at Sugar Land Regional Airport is on the FAA’s potential closure list.