FAA Rescinds Proposal to Eliminate Overnight Shifts at Air Traffic Facilities

Executive Summary: Today, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it will retain overnight shifts at 72 FAA air traffic control facilities—including 70 Airport Traffic Control Towers.

Please note, the FAA has made no definitive decision yet on the scheduled closure of 149 contract towers and airports continue to call upon FAA to end their plans to close these contract towers.

Issues: Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, the federal government has made across-the-board budget cuts to federal programs. As mentioned in our prior communications, FAA—with one of the largest non-defense operations budgets in the government—was forced by the Act to make significant cuts to key air traffic control functions. These include furloughs of FAA air traffic controllers, the closure of 149 contract towers, and reductions in navigational aid maintenance and restoration activities.

On April 26, the U.S. Congress passed the Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013.  The Act, which was signed into law by President Obama, provides the U.S. Secretary of Transportation with flexibility to utilize up to $253 million from other FAA programs--including non-obligated, discretionary funding from the Airport Improvement Program (AIP)--to "prevent reduced operations and staffing of the Federal Aviation Administration during fiscal year 2013 to ensure a safe and efficient air transportation system."

Who is Impacted: Seventy twoFAA air traffic control facilities—including 70 Airport Traffic Control Towers.

What is ACI-NA Doing?: ACI-NA remains deeply concerned about the unprecedented use of AIP funding for FAA operations, as these funds were paid by passengers to maintain and enhance airport runways and taxiways.Given that airports will be sacrificing needed capital improvements to keep the National Airspace System running this summer, ACI-NA continues to strongly advocate that FAA ensure every dollar of the $253 million is used directly on these critical operational priorities.

ACI-NA continues to strongly advocate that airports be included in all FAA discussions pertaining to sequestration decision making, especially as it relates to tower closures and staff reductions. 

ACI-NA Contacts:   Chris Oswald coswald@aci-na.org and Matt Griffin mgriffin@aci-na.org