Texas A&M’s airport tower is one of 13 in the state of Texas that will close due to Washington’s budget sequestration. Of the 189 airports on the f-a-a’s original list of potential tower shutdowns, 149 have landed on the final roster.
Just a few years ago, this city’s municipal airport was a sleepy, 5,000 runway with only a few aviation-related businesses – a place where the pilots were responsible for steering clear of each other. But here, as elsewhere, the growth of major airports nearby meant that small airports like Arlington became more – not less – important.
But the budget sequester has necessitated the closure of 149 of the nation’s control towers and furloughs for hundreds of employees. Most of them are in small to mid-sized communities, but a few serve fairly sizable communities — Topeka, Kansas; Branson, Missouri; and Boca Raton, Florida — will all see at least their secondary airports lose their control towers.
The FAA has decided that closure of the control tower here and in 23 other communities would have a negative impact on the national interest. The head of the FAA says the agency will work with all 149 areas to ensure air safety at soon-to-be-uncontrolled airports. The shutdowns begin April 7th.
Around 20 airport managers in Texas whose towers were on the chopping block recently met in Austin with TXDot officials as the sides worked to find possible solutions to the funding issues.
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