Cantwell Urges FAA to Keep Air Towers Open

Source: KAPP

KAPP TV - Eugene Buenaventura

In a recent letter, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and a bipartisan  group of six other Senate and House aviation leaders urged the Federal Aviation  Administration (FAA) to prevent the closure of 149 air traffic control towers  across the country.

The 149 contract towers – which are operated by contractors  for the FAA – are scheduled to close on June 15.

Five contract towers in Washington state would be  among the contract towers closed under the current plan: Renton Municipal  Airport, Tacoma Narrows Airport, Yakima Air Terminal/McAllister Field, Felts  Field in Spokane, and Olympia Regional Airport. 

“We are profoundly disappointed with the decision of  the FAA to target 149 FAA contract control towers for closure on June 15,” the Senators and Representatives  wrote. “We ask that you identify lower priority spending elsewhere in the  FAA’s budget for reduction.”

The FAA had initially planned to begin the closure of  the contract towers on April 7, but on April 5 the FAA announced the closures  would be delayed until June 15.

“The decision to shutter contract towers on such a  wide-scale basis is unprecedented,” the letter continued. “It is deeply troubling that  the agency seems intent on proceeding with the closure of key air traffic  control assets absent adequate safety and study. We recognize that the FAA faces  difficult choices, but in this instance we remain opposed to the FAA’s actions  and will continue to urge action to keep contract towers open and  operational.”