FAA issues details on tower shutdowns

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released guidance for US contract towers facing closure under a huge cost cutting programme.

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The agency announced on Friday plans to shutter 149 federal contract control towers. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said it was part of a series of “tough decisions” the agency had to make to reach $637 million in cuts due under the 2011 Budget Control Act.

Towers selected for shut down “did not meet the national interest screening criteria,” accordimg to the guidance whose  criteria included threats to national security, adverse economic effects, and possible impacts on multistate transport or banking.

FAA said shutdowns will occur in three phases: 24 towers will shut down on April 7; 46 on April 21; and the remaining 79 on May 5.

“While we regret the need to cease FAA funding of these towers, we have worked to ensure that the airport environment remains safe as we make the transition,” the guidance said. The guidance also provided directions for airport managers on possible emergency plans, weather observation equipment and the maintenance of air traffic frequencies.

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