The Senate and House have reintroduced legislation allowing retired FAA controllers to work in federal contract towers without affecting their retirement benefits. This legislation aims to ensure safety and the availability of a pool of trained and experienced controllers to work at the 257 air traffic control facilities that operate under the public-private contract tower program.
Currently, controllers whose retirement is mandated at age 56 are financially penalized for continuing to work at federal contract towers. Senate and House bills would eliminate the penalty. “This legislation removes an unnecessary hiring barrier and a financial disincentive for air traffic controllers who have retired from the FAA, providing a simple and sensible solution to ensuring we have highly skilled and experienced controllers working at federal contract towers and keeping skies safe across the country,” said Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas).
Moran is one of three senators—including Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe and Washington Democrat Patty Murray—who reintroduced the Continuity for Operators with Necessary Training Required for ATC Contract Towers Act of 2021. Reps. Julia Brownley (D-California) and Rodney Davis (R-Illinois) reintroduced similar legislation in the House. “Keeping all of our air traffic control towers open and fully staffed is critical for safety and helps our airports serve businesses and aviation enthusiasts in our region,” said Brownley.