The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has decided to close 149 federal contract towers beginning April 7 as part of the agency’s sequestration implementation plan. The agency has made the decision to keep 24 federal contract towers open that had been previously proposed for closure because doing so would have a negative impact on the national interest. An additional 16 federal contract towers under the “cost share” program will remain open because Congressional statute sets aside funds every fiscal year for these towers.
The national interest considerations included to save those 24 towers were: (1) significant threats to national security as determined by the FAA in consultation with the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security; (2) significant, adverse economic impact that is beyond the impact on a local community; (3) significant impact on multi-state transportation, communication or banking/financial networks; and (4) the extent to which an airport currently served by a contract tower is a critical diversionary airport to a large hub.
The FAA has released its three-part phase in period for closing federal contract towers. On April 7, 24 contract towers will close (http://download.aopa.org/advocacy/130325april7-closures.pdf), followed by 46 on April 21 (http://download.aopa.org/advocacy/130325april21-closures.pdf), and the remaining 79 on May 5 (http://download.aopa.org/advocacy/130325may-5-closures.pdf). The FAA is closing the towers based on activity levels, with the first to close having fewer than 1,000 commercial operations in fiscal year 2012. The second group had fewer than 2,500 commercial operations.
This means the following towers will be closing in the Central Southwest Region:
- Arkansas: Drake Field (FYV in Fayetteville) on April 7 and Texarkana Regional – Webb Field (TVK) on May 5.
- Iowa: Dubuque Regional (DBQ) on April 21.
- Kansas: Hutchinson Municipal (HUT) on May 5, New Century AirCenter (IXD) on April 21 and Johnson County Executive (OJC) on April 7 (both in Olathe), Manhattan Regional (MHK) on May 5, and Philip Billard Municipal (TOP in Topeka) on April 21.
- Louisiana: Shreveport Downtown (DTN) on April 7.
- Missouri: Branson (BBG) and Columbia Regional (COU), both on May 5.
- Nebraska: None.
- New Mexico: Double Eagle II (AEG in Albuquerque) on April 21 and Santa Fe Municipal (SAF) on May 5.
- Oklahoma: Lawton-Fort Sill Regional (LAW) on May 5, University of Oklahoma Westheimer (OUN in Norman) on April 21, Wiley Post (PWA in Oklahoma City) on May 5, and Stillwater Regional (SWO) on April 21.
Closing on April 7:
- Lone Star Executive (CXO in Conroe)
- Georgetown Municipal (GTU)
- Dallas Executive (RBD)
- Sinson Municipal (SSF) in San Antonio
Closing on April 21:
- New Braunfels Municipal (BAZ)
- TSTC Waco (CNW)
- San Marcos Municipal (HYI)
- Collin County Regional at McKinney (TKI in Dallas)
- Victoria Regional (VCT)
Closing on May 5:
- Brownsville/South Padre Island International (BRO)
- Easterwood Field (CLL in College Station)
- Sugar Land Municipal (SGR in Houston)
- Tyler Pounds Regional (TRY)
For a complete list, visit: http://www.faa.gov/news/media/fct_closed.pdf
AOPA recommends checking notams often, flying with current charts, and reviewing ASI’s Operations at Nontowered Airports safety advisor (http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/sa08.pdf).