The lunacy of the federal budget sequester continues to be revealed in stunning ways.
The air traffic control tower at Paine Field in Snohomish County is on the Federal Aviation Administration’s list of possible tower closures. You know Paine Field, the one next to the nation’s largest exporter, The Boeing Company. The place where planes are built and others come to be maintained and repaired at Aviation Technical Services. That one, FAA.
Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens, made the impacts clear in a letter last week to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. Boeing is the hub of air transport manufacturing in the United States, and ATS is the largest third-party aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul operation in North America, Larsen reminded Huerta.
The FAA is looking at its contract tower program and FAA control towers to decide what could be closed and what needs to stay open to avoid adversely affecting the national interest.
Paine Field serves all manner of aviation needs, and it serves a vital function in the regional and national economy. Tower operations not only help land planes and get them safely aloft, but also direct planes to their destination on the ground.
Larsen makes the point: “The production, transportation and repair of large airplanes need a fully operating air traffic control tower. Closure of the air traffic control tower at Paine Field would significantly limit Paine Field’s ability to support the cornerstone of the Pacific Northwest aviation economy and would hurt the national economy by impacting the operations of the country’s largest exporter.”
Larsen, as ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation, is in a good spot to be heard.