The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) created the U.S. Contract Tower Association in 1996 to promote FAA’s Contract Tower Program and to enhance aviation safety at smaller airports. USCTA coordinates contract tower issues on a regular basis with Congress, DOT/FAA, NTSB, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the DOT IG. The association sponsors an annual workshop in Washington, D.C., which allows members to hear updates on the program directly from the FAA officials who administer it.
The primary advantages of FAA’s Contract Tower Program are enhanced safety, improved ATC services and significant VFR ATC cost savings to FAA. A DOT Inspector General audit of the FAA Contract Tower Program, released Nov. 5, 2012, concluded that FAA contract towers continue to provide cost-effective and safe air traffic control services and operate at a lower cost than similar FAA-operated towers.
A total of 256 airports participate in FAA’s Contract Tower Program as of Jan. 1, 2016.