Hoeven Working to Ensure Reliable, Safe Air Service in Minot

Senator Tours Minot Air Traffic Control Tower & Discusses Need to Replace Facility, Efforts to Ensure Adequate Staffing

MINOT, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today toured the air traffic control tower at the Minot International Airport, where he discussed the importance of maintaining safe and reliable air service in the region and across the state. To this end, Hoeven:

  • Reviewed the limitations of the existing air traffic control tower and discussed efforts to construct a replacement.
    • As a member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee, Hoeven oversees funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is working to advance a new tower for Minot.
  • Outlined his work to ensure FAA Contract Towers, like Minot’s, are adequately staffed.
    • Hoeven helped introduce the Continuity for Operators with Necessary Training Required for ATC Contract Towers (CONTRACT) Act.
    • This legislation encourages retired FAA air traffic controllers to work at Federal Contract Towers, which will help address the labor shortage in this vital field. 

These efforts build on Hoeven’s previous work to secure a new state-of-the-art terminal for the Minot International Airport, which the senator worked to fund through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). 

“Federal Contract Towers play a critical role supporting our nation’s air transportation system, with more than 250 facilities participating in the FAA’s contract tower program across the country,” said Hoeven. “In order for the air traffic control tower in Minot to continue serving this region, it needs both updated infrastructure and adequate staff. That’s exactly what we’re working to provide, both through the appropriations process and by advancing the CONTRACT Act.”

Currently, FAA air traffic controllers are required to retire at 56 years of age and are penalized should they continue to work as controllers at Federal Contract Towers. This policy undermines the ability of Federal Contract Towers, like the one in Minot, to recruit trained and well-qualified FAA air traffic controllers. Accordingly, the CONTRACT Act of 2021 would remove this penalty, allowing retired FAA air traffic controllers to collect their pension benefits while working at Federal Contract Towers. 

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