Albany's Airport Tower unmanned during some commercial flights - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany's Airport Tower unmanned during some commercial flights

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

August 7, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An ASA flight's emergency landing Saturday at the Albany airport had some passengers concerned that no one is manning the Albany airport tower while commercial flights are landing.

That's not uncommon. The Albany Airport Tower operates Monday through Friday 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and weekends 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., which means nightly ASA's flight lands without someone in the tower. Pilots who call the tower are directed to Jacksonville, Florida who handles air traffic when the tower is unmanned. Nearly 80 percent of small airports across the nation are in similar situations, and while aviation experts say the system works, they don't want to see additional cutbacks.

"There's a lot of push to not fund these smaller airports and remove towers. I think that that's is not a good decision. I think the FAA provides a phenomenal amount of safety and ensure that we don't have problems like what happened the other night," said David Hay's, Former Air Traffic Controller.

The Albany airport's tower's current staffing is based on the amount of traffic into the airport and could face future cuts if traffic volumes continue to decline.

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