Thunderstorms rolling through metro

FAA announces 2 Mo., 5 Kan., tower closures

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air traffic control tower

WASHINGTON — The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration reached a decision Friday that 149 federal contract towers will close beginning April 7 as part of the agency’s sequestration implementation plan.

The plan includes five towers in Kansas, including New Century Aircenter and Johnson County Executive airports in Olathe, Kan. Airport towers will also close in Branson and at Columbia Regional airport in Columbia, Mo.

Rosecrans Memorial airport in St. Joseph, Mo., will remain under contract with the FAA and will not close their tower.

“We heard from communities across the country about the importance of their towers and these were very tough decisions,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Unfortunately we are faced with a series of difficult choices that we have to make to reach the required cuts under sequestration.”

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.

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. The FAA is committed to facilitating this transition.

Other closures include tower airports in Topeka, Manhattan and Hutchinson, Kan.

The FAA will begin a four-week phased closure of the 149 federal contract towers beginning on April 7.


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