Phone: (217) 429-1033
Hours: 0600 – 2200

FAA Contract Tower Program

The FAA’s Contract Tower Program, which began in 1982, provides for the FAA to contract air traffic control (ATC) services to the private sector at visual flight rule (VFR) airports. The primary advantages of this program are enhanced safety, improved ATC services, and significant VFR ATC cost savings to FAA. Currently, 226 smaller airports participate in the program, representing 45% of all control towers in the U.S. In addition, federal contract towers handle approximately 25% of control tower aircraft operations for about 10% of FAA’s budget to operate all control towers in the U.S. The contract tower program provides “cost-effective services that are comparable to the quality and safety of FAA-operated towers,” according to Department of Transportation Inspector General (IG) Kenneth Mead. (