Monday , August 15 2022

San Bernardino International Airport Reaches Milestone with FAA Contract Tower Program

In 2019 when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reopened its Federal Contract Tower (FCT) Program to new entrants, San Bernardino International Airport (SBD) was the first in line to apply.  On August 3rd, the airport was notified by the FAA that its application was approved, backdated to April 1st of this year.

The Federal Aviation Administration performs a cost-benefit analysis to determine an airport’s viability for the program.  In San Bernardino’s case, the prominent growth in airport traffic of 113% since 2013 qualified the airport for the program.

“Admission into the FTC Program strongly positions the Airport to continue to support the rapid growth it has been experiencing,” says Mark Gibbs, SBD’s Director of Aviation.

San Bernardino International Airport is now the 258th airport in the FCT program and this new partnership with the FAA represents a major step forward for the quickly growing Airport.

Serco Management Services currently operates the SBD tower under contract with the San Bernardino International Airport Authority (SBIAA). Serco is also one of three national corporations contracted with the FAA for their contract tower program.  So, while no changes in operations at the Airport will be required, the financial and operational responsibility for the tower will transfer to the Federal Aviation Administration.

SBD currently budgets approximately $650,000 in airport user fees for tower operations annually.  With most of these costs transferred to the FAA, these fees can now be used for maintenance and other improvements at the facility.

The Federal Contract Tower Program was created in 1982 and allows the federal government to contract with private companies to provide air traffic control services at airports throughout the country.  The FAA currently contracts with three companies to provide these services at over 250 airports in the Continental United States, Hawaii, and US territories including Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The FCT program now manages approximately 50% of FAA air traffic control towers employing over 1,400 controllers, all of whom meet the same qualification and training requirements as FAA air traffic controllers.  FCTs provided service for more than 15 million operations in fiscal year 2018.

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