Officials Celebrate Signing of Tower Operations Agreement at Leesburg Executive Airport

airport meeting

Leesburg, VA (September 5, 2023) – Local, federal, and state officials convened at Leesburg Executive Airport on Tuesday, September 5, to mark the recent formalization of the Tower Operations Agreement between the Town and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Present at the event were Leesburg’s Congressional members, Sen. Tim Kaine and Rep. Jennifer Wexton, accompanied by Delegates David Reid and Suhas Subramanyam of the Virginia General Assembly.

Earlier in February 2023, the FAA had called off the airport’s Remote Tower Pilot Program, set to expire on June 14, 2023. This could have potentially halted air traffic control services at the airport. Collaborative discussions between the FAA and the Town were initiated to retain the Air Traffic Control services, enjoying consistent bipartisan backing throughout these talks. These discussions eventually paved the way for an interim mobile tower, following the cessation of the Remote Tower initiative.

In the month of June, both Sen. Kaine and Rep. Wexton joined discussions with Town authorities regarding the continuation of air traffic control services. Bolstered by bipartisan advocacy from representatives at all levels and a constructive partnership with the FAA, it was agreed that the ideal solution was to sustain tower operations.

“The relationship between this airport and the FAA has been a strong one,” Sen. Kaine remarked. “They have been a good problem solver working together with the Airport Commission and with the Town to find a solution where we’ve reached an agreement that there will be a brick-and-mortar tower.”

“These are investments will ensure that the progress that you’ve been responsible for, which you should be thanked for, is going to continue for years to come,” Sen. Kaine emphasized.

“I’m very pleased that we were able to get this agreement signed,” Rep. Wexton noted, highlighting the timely approval of a bill that renewed FAA and related infrastructure schemes for the subsequent five years.

“That was one of the things that helped us to get this signed,” Rep. Wexton further added. “I look forward to many more flights out of Leesburg.”

The newly formalized Tower Operations Agreement offers a provisional solution until the construction of the permanent tower. The FAA commits to funding the air traffic control personnel for the makeshift tower, which will stay operational as the Town proceeds with the plans for a permanent structure. The Town is responsible for the temporary tower’s rent. In a session held on July 25, 2023, the Town Council sanctioned $90,000 from the Town’s Unallocated Fund Balance for the mobile tower’s rent from October 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024. Future funding for the tower’s rental in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget, amounting to $120,000, is anticipated to be proposed by the Town Manager in February.

“It’s just a tremendous number when you start talking about the 80,000 takeoffs and landings at this airport and the economic advantage it offers not only to Leesburg but also to Loudoun County and the broader Commonwealth,” conveyed Del. David Reid. “This aptly demonstrates our collective effort, pooling in resources at local, state, and federal levels, to shape a future for the Leesburg Executive Airport.”

“Our strides in the past months owe much to the unwavering bipartisan support from our national and state representatives,” Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk expressed. “We eagerly anticipate our continued collaborations on this pivotal venture, and we hope to welcome all once again for the initiation of our new permanent tower.”