KBTX | Bryan & College Station, TX | News, Weather, Sports

Airport Officials Fight to Keep Control Towers Open

By: Stephanie Ando Email
By: Stephanie Ando Email

Air traffic control towers at 19 airports across Texas, including Easterwood Airport, could be closing for good on April 7 because of federal automatic spending cuts, known as Sequestration.

"We're very concerned, we have a very short time frame, and we're trying to look at possible solutions to this problem," said David Fulton, Director of Aviation TXDOT Aviation Division.

Airport officials say closing control towers creates financial and safety concerns. That's why representatives of all the affected airports in Texas met in Austin Friday to figure out a way to keep the towers open without federal funding.

One solution discussed in the meeting is getting funding from the state and local governments.

"The FAA said safety would not be affected, but I can't personally understand how safety would not be affected if the shutdown of these towers takes place," said Fulton.

Travelers at Easterwood Airport in College Station agree.

"I would feel a little bit more uneasy. Especially somewhere [like Easterwood], I think it would lead to a higher potential of accidents," said James Mellone.

Airport officials say 40% of the gas bought at Easterwood comes from refueling Department of Defense planes. DOD policy says their planes can't land without a control tower.

Commercial Airlines will also have to decide if they'll continue flying in and out of Easterwood without a working tower.

Some local governments in Texas have already stepped up to fund their airports. The B/CS community has three weeks to figure out a plan for Easterwood Airport.


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