Federal Daily News

FAA announces air traffic control tower closings

The Federal Aviation Administration last week said that it will close 149 federal contract air traffic control towers over a four-week period beginning April 7 as part of its sequestration implementation plan.

Earlier this month, FAA had considered closing as many as 189 contract towers as part of its plan to satisfy $637 million in sequester-related cuts.

The agency, however, decided to keep 24 federal contract towers open that it earlier had marked for closing "because doing so would have a negative impact on the national interest." FAA also will keep open another 16 federal contract towers that are under a “cost share” program that is required by statute to be funded by Congress. While the cost-share funds still are subject to sequestration, FAA said that the required 5 percent cut to those funds will not result in closings.

“We heard from communities across the country about the importance of their towers and these were very tough decisions,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “Unfortunately we are faced with a series of difficult choices that we have to make to reach the required cuts under sequestration.”

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said the agency will work with airports and the operators to ensure safety procedures are in place at non-towered airports.

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