U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Representatives Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Annie Kuster (NH-02), said today that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has informed them that the air traffic control tower at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport will remain open during the midnight shift and that any future changes to that status won't be made unilaterally and without input from stakeholders at the local, state and federal levels.
Earlier this week, the delegation called on the FAA to reject a recent request - which airport and city officials say they weren't consulted on - to close the air traffic control tower during overnight hours. Today, the FAA communicated the following: "We assure you that we will not unilaterally reduce facility operating hours. We are committed to following our open and transparent process, and fully coordinate with all our stakeholders at local, state, and federal levels."
While the FAA has signaled that it is not set to close the air traffic control tower during the 12 to 6 AM shift, it has not formally denied the request to do so - and the New Hampshire congressional delegation today restated its view that keeping the tower open overnight is a safety priority.
"This is a matter of safety. As a diversion airport for New England, Manchester Airport frequently receives unscheduled landings overnight because of dangerous weather or other safety precautions. Additionally, MHT is home to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock emergency medical center helicopter, which is a lifeline around the clock for patients in crisis situations," said Shaheen, Ayotte, Shea-Porter and Kuster. "We will remain focused on highlighting the clear safety value of keeping the tower operational during the midnight shift as we continue to make the case for Manchester Airport."