Harrison Ford visited Capitol Hill on Tuesday to lend his considerable star power to the plight of more than 200 control towers slated to close as part of the so-called government sequester.
The actor joined aviation industry leaders at a special meeting of the House General Aviation Caucus to warn members of Congress and their staff about the potential impact of closing scores of contract control towers.
“This funding mechanism has got some serious problems,” Ford told members of the caucus, saying the closures could be potentially dangerous and would hurt local economies as well. “When you close a tower, you’re eliminating the commercial operations that can happen there. It has a huge impact on small businesses.”
Contract towers are staffed by FAA-trained and certified air traffic controllers but managed by outside companies under contract to the FAA. Supporters argue they are cost-efficient and safe, allowing busy, smaller airports to gain the added safety afforded by tower operations.
The FAA says it will make a decision tomorrow about which towers to close. The agency could shutter as many as 232 tower facilities in all.