Airport tower on closure list - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany airport tower on closure list

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It has just been announced that The FAA tower at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport is on the closure list.

Airport Director Yvette Aehle will be meeting internally with air traffic control folks and FAA technical staff to talk about the transition.

"There might be some delays involved, and we're gonna have to watch that and see how it affects us going forward. We've never been without a tower, so we're not quite sure how big the delays are going to be, but we can expect some," said Aehle.

Albany's airport tower has currently been operating for only 12 hours per day. The closures begin April 7th and will take four weeks.

Remarks from the FAA:

In early March, FAA proposed to close 189 contract air traffic control towers as part of its plan to meet the $637 million in cuts required under budget sequestration and announced that it would consider keeping open any of these towers if doing so would be in the national interest.  

The National interest considerations included: (1) significant threats to national security as determined by the FAA in consultation with the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security; (2) significant, adverse economic impact that is beyond the impact on a local community; (3) significant impact on multi-state transportation, communication or banking/financial networks; and (4) the extent to which an airport currently served by a contract tower is a critical diversionary airport to a large hub.  

In addition to reviewing materials submitted on behalf of towers on the closure list, DOT consulted with the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and conducted operational assessments of each potential tower closure on the national air transportation system. As a result, 24 federal contract towers will remain open because closing them would have a negative impact on the national interest.  The FAA will begin a four-week phased closure of 149 federal contract towers beginning on April 7.

An additional 16 number of federal contract towers under the "cost share" program will be able to remain open because Congressional statute sets aside funds every fiscal year for these towers. These funds are subject to sequestration but the required 5 percent cut will not result in tower closures.

Some communities will elect to participate in FAA's non-federal tower program and assume the cost of continued, on-site air traffic control services at their airport (see Advisory Circular AC 90-93A). The FAA is committed to facilitating this transition.

Sincerely,

David Grizzle
Chief Operating Officer
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC  20591

WALB will have more on the decision as it becomes available.

 

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