Iowa and Illinois towers on FAA list of those it will close
The Federal Aviation Administration narrowed the list of control towers it will close to 149, keeping 24 that were previously proposed for closure.
The FAA previously announced it would close up to 173 air traffic control towers and small- and medium-size airports because of spending cuts forced by the sequester.
The FAA must make $637 million in cuts under budget sequestration.
The agency decided to keep 24 towers open because closing them “would have a negative impact on the national interest,” according to a statement from an FAA spokesperson. National interest considerations included significant threats to national security; significant economic impact from the closure; significant impact on multi-state transportation, communication or banking/financial networks and the extent to which the tower service a critical diversionary airport.
In Iowa, the tower serving Dubuque Regional Airport is on the list of those which will close in April 2013.
Rep. Bruce Braley of Iowa expressed disappointment at the decision to close the Dubuque tower, saying, “this decision is the direct result of Congress’ recklessness and failure to make smart decisions about deficit reduction.”
In Illinois, towers will close at Decatur Airport, St. Louis Regional Airport in Alton, Central Illinois Regional Airport at Bloomington-Normal, Southern Illinois Airport at Carbondale/Murphysboro and Waukegan Regional Airport in Chicago/Waukegan.
The tower serving Gary/Chicago International Airport in Gary, Indiana will also close, as will the tower serving Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville, Wisconsin.
The FAA spokesperson said some communities will continue to operate the towers at their own expense.
“We will work with the airports and the operators to ensure the procedures are in place to maintain the high level of safety at non-towered airports,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
The closures will be phased in over four weeks beginning April 7.