FAA to delay closure of 149 air traffic control towers - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

FAA to delay closure of 149 air traffic control towers

The Federal Aviation Administration released a list of 149 air traffic control towers that will be shutdown due to budget cuts. (Source: CNN) The Federal Aviation Administration released a list of 149 air traffic control towers that will be shutdown due to budget cuts. (Source: CNN)
The control tower at Shreveport's Downtown Airport was slated to close in April 7, along with the rest of the towers on the list. The control tower at Shreveport's Downtown Airport was slated to close in April 7, along with the rest of the towers on the list.
On Thursday, the Texas Transportation Commission approved TxDOT's decision to fund all 13 air traffic control towers in the state to keep them open for 90 days. That included the tower at Texarkana Regional Airport. On Thursday, the Texas Transportation Commission approved TxDOT's decision to fund all 13 air traffic control towers in the state to keep them open for 90 days. That included the tower at Texarkana Regional Airport.

(RNN/KSLA) - The Federal Aviation Administration said it will delay the closure of 149 air traffic control towers at small airports until June, according to the AP.

In March the agency made the decision to keep 24 federal contract towers open that had been previously proposed for closure because doing so would have a negative impact on the national interest, according to an FAA news release.

Two control towers at airports in the ArkLaTex that were on the original list to shut down on April 7: The Shreveport Downtown Airport and the Texarkana Regional Airport.

Friday's announcement came as welcome news to Stacy Kuba, Manager of the Shreveport Downtown Airport.

 "I am thrilled that we will be able to keep the control tower open at Shreveport Downtown Airport. This means our on-site tenants as well as the dozens of out of town visitors that use the airport each week will continue to take off and land safely. Even with this good news today, we are still working on a permanent solution to keep the control tower open." 

Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover shared the sentiment.

"The FAA's decision to keep the Shreveport Downtown Airport control tower open is great news for our community. Airport and city officials are diligently working with our U.S. Congressional Delegation on a solution to keep the tower open beyond the new June 15th scheduled closure date. This will allow the airport to continue to operate at the highest level of safety." 

The annual operating costs for the control tower at the Shreveport Downtown Airport are $400,000+ annually.

On Thursday, the Texas Transportation Commission approved TxDOT's decision to fund all 13 air traffic control towers in the state to keep them open for 90 days. Without intervention or alternative funding, Shreveport's Downtown Airport was slated to close in April 7, along with the rest of the towers on the list.

The cuts are result of sequestration – the $85 billion in spending cuts that went into effect on March 1 after Congress did not pass a budget.

The targeted airports for tower closures have 150,000 flight operations annually, and of those, fewer than 10,000 are commercial flights, according to the Associated Press. Along with the tower closures, most of the FAA 47,000 employees, which include tower controllers, will experience furloughs.

Of the $1 billion that will be a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's budget cuts, $637 million will come from the FAA in fiscal year 2013.

With that amount, the contract tower program is facing a 75 percent reduction.

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