Santa Speaks at AAAE/USCTA’s FAA Contract Tower Program Annual Conference
NATCA President Rich Santa spoke to airport management at contract tower airports, officials from airports interested in joining the FAA’s Federal Contract Tower (FCT) Program, ATC-related companies, and other aviation stakeholders at the AAAE/USCTA’s FAA Contract Tower Program Annual Conference on July 28. Santa addressed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and how NATCA and other key stakeholders are involved in its implementation. He also talked about ongoing challenges facing the National Airspace System (NAS), including air traffic controller staffing and the CONTRACT Act, the bipartisan legislation that would provide an incentive for retired federal air traffic controllers to continue working as controllers at one of the 256 airports that participate in the FAA’s Contract Tower Program without sacrificing a portion of their earned retirement benefits, specifically without their federal annuity supplement (social security supplement) being reduced or eliminated.
NATCA was a sponsor of the conference that brought participants together to discuss how the infrastructure bill will impact contract tower airports, efforts to address staffing challenges, and perspectives from Capitol Hill.
During his speech, he stated, “We expect the new BIL funding will allow FAA and airport-owned towers to move forward with new projects and accelerate those already planned, including much-needed improvements to aging facilities, power systems, unstaffed infrastructure, and other needs. NATCA, as well as those of you who are in attendance today, need to be vigilant to ensure that FAA’s F&E and AIP budgets provided for in the annual appropriations process are not reduced over the next five years while these additional BIL funds are committed to critical aviation infrastructure.” Read Santa’s full remarks here:
Read the speech as prepared here