U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation, today continued her call for the FAA to keep open contract air traffic control towers - including the one at Nashua Airport - that were targeted for closure by the agency as a result of sequestration cuts.
In a bipartisan letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Ayotte and fellow members of the House and Senate Commerce Committees underscored their opposition to the FAA's decision last month to target 149 federal contract air traffic control towers across the country. Last week, the FAA announced it would prevent imminent closure of control towers, including Nashua's, but only until June 15.
"We are profoundly disappointed with the decision of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to target 149 FAA contract control towers for closure on June 15," they wrote. "We ask that you identify lower priority spending elsewhere in the FAA's budget for reduction."
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 even receiving a vote.
Senator Ayotte will continue to press the issue with Administrator Huerta, who is scheduled to testify next Tuesday at a Commerce Committee hearing focused on aviation safety.
In 2012, 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.