U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) welcomed today's decision by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to prevent the imminent closure of air traffic control towers - including the one at Nashua Airport - until June 15. Last month, the FAA said that sequestration cuts were forcing it to cut funding for 149 federal contract air traffic control towers across the country. Click here for the FAA's announcement.
"This is good news, but we still need a long-term solution that removes any uncertainty surrounding the control tower at Nashua Airport," said Senator Ayotte, who serves as the top Republican on the Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation. "We can replace sequestration with smarter, alternative savings, and I will continue to work across party lines to do so. There's no reason why an important facility like Nashua's control tower should be threatened by politics in Washington."
During recent debate on the catch all federal spending bill known as the "continuing resolution," Senator Ayotte made the case for Nashua Airport on the floor of the United States Senate. She pushed for an amendment that would help keep open air traffic control towers like the one at Nashua's Boire Field by allowing the FAA to use funds from other areas of its budget - without disrupting operations. Despite having strong support from members of both parties, the common sense measure was blocked from receiving a vote.
Last year, the FAA designated the Nashua Airport as an asset of national importance due to its important role in the safe and efficient operations of the aviation system in New England and nationally - particularly as a regional relief destination for more congested facilities in the Northeast.
In March, Senator Ayotte and fellow New Hampshire delegation members wrote to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in opposition to the FAA's plan to discontinue air traffic control services at the Nashua Municipal Airport.