January 31, 2020

Manchin, Capito Applaud FAA Decision to Continue 24-Hour Air Traffic Control Operations at Huntington Tri-State Airport

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today applauded the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) decision to continue 24-hour Air Traffic Control operations at the Huntington Tri-State Airport. In October, the FAA released a memo with the proposal to cut 24-hour Air Traffic Control operations at Huntington Tri-State Airport (HTS).

The FAA’s announcement comes after Senators Manchin and Capito sent a letter to the FAA on January 24, 2020, requesting they remove HTS from their study and keep the airport from having their control tower hours reduced. Click here to read the letter.

“At the beginning of this year, I worked with Senator Capito and the FAA to preserve 24-hour Air Traffic Control operations at Charleston Yeager Airport. While I applauded their initial decision to remove Yeager from the list, I knew there was still work to be done to ensure the Huntington Tri-State Airport would also continue 24-hour operations. Reducing the hours of Huntington’s Air Traffic Control Tower could have threatened current commercial and cargo operations and decreased safety at the airport, and for the past several weeks, I have been working with local officials, FAA representatives, and other members of the West Virginia delegation to protect Huntington’s Air Traffic Controller tower. Today, I am pleased the FAA has made the decision to remove Huntington Tri-State Airport from consideration in reducing its operation hours, securing 24-hour operations at the airport. This decision is great news for Huntington and the state,” said Senator Manchin.

“I appreciate the FAA’s commitment to the Huntington area by maintaining Huntington Tri-State Airport’s 24-hour operation of their air traffic control tower,” Senator Capito said. “Since becoming aware of FAA’s proposal to possibly limit the operating hours at HTS, my office has worked diligently to express concern and stay on top of this issue. The mountainous terrain at the airport makes the 24-hour coverage critical to the level of safety when managing their operations. I am glad the FAA decided to maintain the 24- hour operations, which will ultimately have a positive impact on the community and allow the airport to continue to grow.”

“We thank the FAA as well for understanding the importance of maintaining a 24-hour control tower at HTS. They have also recognized the negative impacts to both the Airport and the community that would have occurred under a reduction of hours of the control tower,” said Brent Brown, Huntington Tri-State Airport Director.

Earlier this month, the senators announced that Yeager Airport in Charleston would continue 24-hour Air Traffic Control operations.