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Sequestration May Eliminate 24-Hour Air Traffic Towers

control tower

Photo: Stan Jastrzebski/WFIU News

Control towers at some municipal airports could be closed because of budget cuts, the FAA says.

A number of Indiana airports with 24-hour towers could face cuts if Congress does not find a solution to the budget sequester by a March deadline.

Sequestration, or spending cuts, will have the largest effect on airports that have 24-hour towers. These towers are the first places that money will be cut from, leaving airports with fewer hours to host clients.

Columbus Municipal Airport officials believe they will largely be spared if the FAA’s fiscal support dries up, but Airport Director Brian Payne says losing air traffic control towers in some areas is a realistic threat.

“It’s always a possibility. They have been threatening things of this nature for years. Air Traffic Control is something that is on the radar right now it is having issues,” he says. “Our Air Traffic Control is not manned 24 hours a day, so I think that we have done a good job of keeping our cost low for our contract tower. Other towers across the state that are 24 hours may end up having to have some hours cut.”

Neither the Columbus tower nor the facility at the Monroe County Airport operate 24 hours a day, possibly staving off some cuts.

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