As most of you know, President Obama and Congress are in the throes of debate over federal sequestration, an unusual legislative requirement that dictates across-the-board cuts of $85 billion in federal spending on March 1, unless Congress finds a solution before. FMI, read the following two articles: http://www.aopa.org/advocacy/articles/2013/130225fed-sequestration-impact-on-ga.html and http://www.aopa.org/advocacy/articles/2013/130227top-officials-offer-glimpse-post-sequester.html?CMP=News:S1T.
I’ll start by pointing out that all of this is worst-case scenario. No one is able to draw any conclusions or reach decisions on where we might end up until, at least, this Friday, March 1.
Those articles above and the letter the FAA wrote to AOPA and other organizations(http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/media/2013_02_22_10_00_10.pdf) cited several measures that the agency might have to enact if a deal on sequestration isn’t reached, including:
1) the closure of 72 airport control towers during midnight shifts,
2) the complete shutdown of 238 towers (189 towers in the Contract Tower Porgram and 49 federally funded control towers) at airports with fewer than 150,000 flight operations per year,
3) the reduction of preventive maintenance, provisioning and support for all NAS equipment, and
4) a staff furlough.
Combined, the impact of the closures would amount to a 30-percent reduction in control tower service system-wide. Cuts would start in April and continue incrementally over 10 years if Congress and the Obama administration cannot agree by Friday, March 1 on a compromise to avoid the arbitrary $85 billion cuts in federal spending for the rest of this fiscal year.
You might be wondering how this could affect airports in the Central Southwest Region. Here is the list of airports, by state, that could potentially be permanently closed or their tower midnight shifts cut or reduced:
ATC Facilities – Potential Permanent Closures
Arkansas: Springdale Municipal (ASG), Fort Smith (FSM), Drake Field (FYV) in Fayeteville, Rogers Municipal – Carter Field (ROG), and Texarkana Regional – Webb Field (TXK).
Iowa: Waterloo (ALO), Dubuque Regional (DBQ), and Sioux Gateway (SUX).
Kansas: Forbes Field (FOE) and Philip Billard Municipal (TOP) in Topeka, Garden City Regional (GCK), Hutchinson Municipal (HUT), New Century AirCenter (IXD) and Johnson County Executive (OJC) in Olathe, and Manhattan Regional (MHK).
Louisiana: Chennault International (CWF) and Lake Charles Regional (LCH) in Lake Charles, Shreveport Downtown (DTN), Monroe Regional (MLU), and Lakefront (NEW) in New Orleans.
Missouri: Branson (BBG), Columbia Regional (COU), Jefferson City Memorial (JEF), Joplin Regional (JLN), and Rosecrans Memorial (STJ) in St. Joseph.
Nebraska: Central Nebraska Regional (GRI) in Grand Island.
New Mexico: Double Eagle II (AEG) in Albuquerque, Lea County Regional (HOB) in Hobbs, Roswell International Air Center (ROW), and Santa Fe Municipal (SAF).
Oklahoma: Ardmore Municipal (ADM), Lawtown-Fort Sill Regional (LAW), University of Oklahoma Westheimer (OUN) in Norman, Wiley Post (PWA) in Oklahoma City, Stillwater Regional (SWO), Enid Wooding Regional (WDG), and Klamath Falls (LMT).
Texas: Waco Regional (ACT) and TSTC Waco (CNW) in Waco, New Braunfels Municipal (BAZ), Jack Brooks Regional (BPT) in Beaumont, Brownsville/South Padre Island International (BRO), Easterwood Field (CLL) in College Station, Lone Star Executive (CXO) in Conroe, Fort Worth Spinks (FWS), East Texas Regional (GGG) in Longview, Arlington Municipal (GKY), Grand Prairie Municipal (GPM), Georgetown Municipal (GTU), San Marcos Municipal (HYI), Dallas Executive (RBD) and Collin County Regional at McKinney (TKI) in Dallas, Sugar Land Regional (SGR), Stinson Municipal (SSF) in San Antonio, Tyler Pounds Regional (TYR), and Victoria Regional (VCT).
ATC Facilities – Potential Overnight Closures
Arkansas: Little Rock (LIT) Tower
Iowa: Des Moines (DSM) Tower
Kansas: Wichita (ICT) Tower
Louisiana: Shreveport (SHV) Tower
Missouri: Kansas City Downtown (MKC) Tower and Springfield (SGF) Tower
Nebraska: Eppley Field (OMA) Tower
New Mexico: Albuquerque Sunport (ABQ) Tower
Oklahoma: Oklahoma City (OKC) Tower and Tulsa (TUL) Tower
Texas: Abilene (ABI) Tower, Austin Bergstrom (AUS) Tower, Corpus Christi (CRP) Tower, El Paso (ELP) Tower, Meacham (FTW) Tower, Lubbock (LBB) Tower.
The exact timing of these overnight closures would vary by facility.
Stay tuned for updates on the AOPA website/newsletters/etc, the Region’s Twitter account (@AOPACentralSW), or on this blog.