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Four Arizona Airport Traffic Control Towers on FAA Closure List
Four community airports in Arizona plan to challenge an FAA order to close their air traffic control towers. The airports are targeted in the federal budget-cutting program known as “Sequestration.”
189 smaller airports nationwide received letters from the FAA this week that announced they must close their towers by early April.
Phoenix-Goodyear and Glendale’s municipal airports are on the list. So are Tucson’s Ryan Field and the Laughlin-Bullhead airport. Laughlin-Bullhead airport director David Gaines said passenger and pilot safety would be jeopardized if the towers stop operations: “The context and makeup of the air traffic at this airport justifies that safety is paramount and has to be considered. Its risky business when you start moving a lot of types of airplanes in the same airport traffic area."
Gaines said his airport tower directs more than 20-thousand flights a year including helicopters, charter flights and a few military aircraft. He said pilots could still takeoff and land at the smaller airports without ground control, but he added the chance for collisions significantly increases.