2003 Press Releases

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DOT Report Consistent With NBAA Position on Contract Towers

Contact: Cassandra Bosco

Washington, DC September 5, 2003 - The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today commends the Department of Transportation Inspector General on the release of the Department's latest report, "Safety, Cost, and Operational Metrics of the Federal Aviation Administration's Visual Flight Rule Towers."  The report, released yesterday, clearly identifies the safety and cost benefits of the FAA's Contract Tower Program.

"We commend the Department's Inspector General Ken Mead on his thorough, independent analysis of the contract tower program," stated NBAA's president Shelley A. Longmuir. "The results contained in this unbiased report show unequivocally the safety benefits to the aviation community and the cost savings to the American public," continued Longmuir.

NBAA Members, based at airports with contract towers, report favorable and consistent service from the contract towers.

Furthermore, the safety and cost benefits are undeniable:
  • In FY 2002, contract towers had 8 operational errors/deviations, which was a rate of 0.49 incidents per million operations handled while the 71 FAA-staffed VFR towers had 38 operational errors/deviations, which was a rate of 2.70 incidents per million operations handled.
  • In FY 2002, the average cost to operate a full-funded contract VFR tower was $365,608, while the average cost to operate an FAA-staffed VFR tower was $1,741,935.

"Based on these facts, NBAA believes safety will be maintained while costs are reduced through expansion of the contract tower program," Longmuir said.

"We commend the FAA for appropriately partnering with private providers to deliver a vital public service which otherwise may have disappeared. The contract tower program is a success story for the Federal government, aviation and the economy at large," Longmuir said.

NBAA represents the aviation interests of more than 7,300 companies that own or operate general aviation aircraft as an aid to the conduct of their business, or are involved with business aviation. NBAA Member Companies earn annual revenues approaching $5 trillion — a number that is about half the gross domestic product — and employ more than 19 million people worldwide. The NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention is the world's largest display of civil aviation products and services.

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