Thank you for the insight couple of questions.
- What are the pros & cons of converting IWA from Class D to Class C? Why would their be resistance to such a change
Well, it depends on who you ask, and I'll preface this by saying that I'm not an expert, so I'll speak to the best of my abilities. From an ATC perspective, Class C provides increased safety, particularly for approach controllers. Class C doesn't have the same entry requirements as a Class B, but it requires pilots to at least be acknowledged by ATC prior to entering the airspace. Class D allows nonparticipating to transit the airspace, thus, no communications with ATC. This can be detrimental for obvious reasons, particularly with commercial carriers involved. Several years ago, IWA had a massive amount of TCAS RAs (most due to the Fighter Combat guys), and several were caused by nonparticipating aircraft. I seem to recall G4 having 60+ RAs in the span of a couple of months, which was troubling, to say the least. Some procedures were changed and things improved significantly, but an airspace redesign is the more definitive long-term solution.
The cons are mostly from the perspective of the private pilot. Some pilots simply don't want to talk to ATC, even for simple VFR flight following. Just about any changes to airspace results in a lawsuit from AOPA, particularly if the change expands controlled airspace. It can result in a very lengthy process that can take years. Nearby residents and sometimes municipalities will often challenge changes in court out of fear of increased noise. All of that ends up being a con from the FAA's perspective, because litigating these challenges is extremely expensive and very time-consuming.
- Who it would it be to get the FAA to go from a FCT to a FAA tower? Would it be the Arizona Congressional Delegation or the FAA themselves seeing that they have the numbers in front of them?
I'm honestly not sure, and I don't think very many people know the answer to that question. Theoretically, the FAA could simply fail to extend SERCO's contract, but the problem is the lack of allocated funding for FAA controllers to staff the facility. It isn't an impossible solution, but as of a few years ago, it seemed that very few people wanted to take on the issue (I suspect nothing has changed). It isn't that the SERCO controllers are substandard, but at some point, it seems to me that it's the FAA's responsibility to staff busier terminal facilities to ensure high standards. I believe that's also what the flying public expects. Ultimately it's a political issue, but whether it requires congressional action or not seems unclear.