FAA cuts: Texarkana Regional, Shreveport Downtown towers to clos - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

FAA cuts: Texarkana Regional, Shreveport Downtown towers to close

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The tower at the Shreveport Downtown Airport will be closed on April 7. The tower at the Shreveport Downtown Airport will be closed on April 7.
The tower at the Texarkana Regional Airport is also on the FAA's list of tower closures. The tower at the Texarkana Regional Airport is also on the FAA's list of tower closures.
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

The control tower at the Shreveport Downtown Airport will be closed on April 7.

The closure comes as the Federal Aviation Administration seeks to cut costs by some $600 million for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013, the result of sequestration that went into effect on March 1 after Congress failed to pass a budget.

When the Shreveport Airport Authority first learned of the possibility last week, airport management sent a letter to the FAA explaining that the Downtown Airport (DTN) is in a unique position because it's located so close to Barksdale Air Force Base.

Because of all that traffic in shared airspace, pilots flying into the Downtown Airport tell KSLA News 12 that a tower is needed there.

That didn't appear to sway the FAA, however. When the FAA issued its final list of closures on Friday, DTN was still on it.

In a statement in reaction to the news, airport manager Stacy Kuba made it clear that the fight to keep the tower open isn't over. "The Shreveport Downtown Airport will remain open and safety is the top priority as we explore other avenues to re-open the control tower."

The tower at the Texarkana Regional Airport is also on the FAA's list of tower closures.

Out of the original 189 air traffic control towers staffed by contractors on that list, only 24 were removed.

According to the FAA, the towers slated to close are at smaller airports with lighter traffic. It's not just private pilots in small planes who could be affected, as many of the airports are serviced by major airlines.

The cuts could also leave towers unmanned during overnight hours in some big cities such as Chicago and Milwaukee.

Shreveport Regional Airport was also on an FAA list released last week of facilities where FAA-staffed towers could have their overnight shifts eliminated.

Shreveport Regional is one of only 2 airports in Louisiana that has a 24-hour control tower, mostly to serve cargo flights in the overnight hours.

Marketing & PR Manger Mark Crawford says this would mean the loss of a 6-hour shift sometime overnight, although the exact hours have not yet been determined. While cargo carriers prefer air traffic control services where available, Crawford says they can and would likely continue to take off and land there without it. The loss of the overnight shift should not affect commercial flights

There has been no word yet on which of those facilities will make the final list of those losing overnight shifts, or whether the FAA will move forward with that part of the cost-cutting plan at all.

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