Rep. Comstock Amendment to FAA Reauthorization Adopted, Helps Remote Tower Pilot Program
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) released the below statement after her amendment, which makes the Remote Air Traffic Control Tower Pilot Program established in H.R. 2779, the 21st Century AIRR Act (the FAA Reauthorization Act) eligible for funds under the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Leesburg Executive Airport is home to the first installation of this innovative technology, which is currently undergoing a certification process. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee reported the 21st Century AIRR Act favorably to the House of Representatives.
“This new and innovative technology is essential to the future of aviation. Nearly two years ago, I saw first-hand the unveiling of the remote air traffic control tower at the Leesburg Executive Airport – the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. With Loudoun County being a driving force for technology in the region, it is only fitting that our regional airport leads the way as well. Remote air traffic control towers put reliable, safe technology in the capable hands of our air traffic controllers at smaller airports across the nation. The Leesburg Executive Airport is an economic engine for the region that contributes $78 million to the local economy annually and 634 jobs according to a 2011 study.”
The Amendment that passed the full Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will add another possible funding source for the Leesburg Executive Airport. The amendment also directs the FAA Administrator to establish a “repeatable process” by which future certified remote air traffic control tower systems can be commissioned. Section 610 of the 21st Century AIRR Act provides for a nationwide Remote Air Traffic Control Tower Program, a provision co-authored by Comstock. The bill will now go to the full House of Representatives in the coming weeks for consideration.