FAA to close 149 regional airport control towers, spare 40 others

FAA to close 149 regional airport control towers, spare 40 others

POSTED: Monday, March 25, 2013 - 12:00am

UPDATED: Monday, March 25, 2013 - 12:04am

The FAA on March 22 announced it will close 149 regional airport control towers because of forced spending cuts -- sparing 40 others that the FAA had been expected to shutter.

A four-week, phased closure of the 149 control towers will begin on April 7, the FAA said.

The FAA had been expected to announce the closure of 189 low- or moderate-volume towers staffed by contractors. Before Friday's announcement, it said it would consider keeping a tower open if the airport convinces the agency it is in the "national interest" to do so.

By congressional mandate, the FAA must cut nearly $600 million from its nearly $48 billion budget this fiscal year. Because the majority of its 47,000 employees are air traffic controllers, it is impossible to cut its budget without affecting controllers, the agency says. 

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