The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Contract Tower (FCT) Program—operated by three contractors and the Air National Guard—began in 1982 at five airports and has evolved into over 250 towers throughout the United States. Since 1998, we have performed several audits evaluating the Program. Most recently, in 2012, we reported that contract towers provide air traffic control services at lower costs than similar FAA towers and maintain equivalent safety levels. We also reported that airspace users strongly supported the Program.
The Chairmen of the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its Subcommittee on Aviation have requested that we update our prior work and review FAA’s efforts to revise its benefit-cost analysis (BCA) for the Program. FAA uses this BCA to support decision-making for establishing or discontinuing a tower under the Program. Accordingly, our audit objectives will be to assess (1) the FCT Program’s safety record and cost effectiveness and (2) the status of the benefit-cost analysis revisions.