Klobuchar, Franken press for bipartisan legislation to keep air traffic control towers open

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken and 16 other senators introduced bipartisan legislation that would keep air traffic control towers across Minnesota open.

The bipartisan Protect Our Skies Act, authored by Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), would prohibit the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from suspending operation of any air traffic control towers through the end of fiscal year 2014, helping to keep air travel safe and local airports strong. The bill would help make sure that towers at St. Cloud Regional Airport, Anoka County-Blaine Airport, Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie and Crystal Airport remain open.

“Air traffic control towers are critical to maintaining safety in our skies and ensuring local airports can operate efficiently and effectively,” said Klobuchar. “This legislation will help make sure Minnesota’s airports have the resources they need to keep passengers safe so that our aviation system can continue to be the strongest in the world.”

“Regional airports all over Minnesota connect people and businesses to the rest of the world, and it’s critical that we do everything possible to keep them operating as safely as possible,” said Sen. Franken. “By keeping our air traffic control towers open, this legislation will protect our local economies and ensure that Minnesotans can count on safe, reliable air travel.”

Klobuchar has worked hard to keep local airport towers up and running.  She cosponsored amendments to the FY 2013 Continuing Resolution (CR) and to the FY 2014 Senate Budget to keep contract towers open, and also sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee leaders urging them to provide funding to ensure the towers remain open. The budget amendment passed by unanimous consent.

Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and has been a leader in pushing to strengthen aviation standards and support local airports. She introduced bipartisan legislation to toughen airline safety rules. A number of the important provisions from this bill were included in the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act of 2011. She also successfully pushed the FAA to issue much-needed updates to airline safety standards to combat pilot fatigue. In addition, she cosponsored the Passenger Bill of Rights, which requires airlines to provide passengers with adequate resources during tarmac delays and limits the number of hours a plane can sit on the ground with passengers aboard.


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