(BLOOMINGTON) - Indiana Airport managers say they have begun to receive official confirmation that air traffic control towers across the state will close by the end of the year.
Monroe County Airport sees almost 100 takeoffs and landings a day, including traffic from Indiana University, Cook Medical, and other businesses. Manager Bruce Payton says he received an e-mail Wednesday reaffirming what the Federal Aviation Administration had warned of pre-sequester: that six Indiana airports, including his, could see their towers shut down due to budget cuts.
"Will a lot of pilots continue to use our airport? Absolutely they will. Will some businesses elect not to use our airport because of not having a control tower? Absolutely," he says.
Virgil I Grissom Municipal Airport will not be affected because the airport does not have an air traffic control tower.
"Here aircrafts have to call in when they are within 5 miles of the airport," says Ray Saxton, airport manager. "That way we don't have several planes attempting to land at one time. Those airports losing their towers will have to do the same thing."
Columbus Municipal Airport will also lose its tower. The airport had been in the process of trying to fund construction of a new tower, but Manager Brian Payne says that's now on hold.
"If you would have asked me two weeks ago about the tower, I was excited about the possibility of a new control tower," he says. "And the funding we were already putting in place and the airport board has already positioned themselves to put into place but certainly this came about very quickly, and we feel that while it is coming about quickly. We feel there could be a possibility of still getting funded."
Both airports will continue to write letters and contact their congressmen in hopes of keeping their towers operational.
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