Federal Aviation Administration restores funding for air traffic towers but Arizona not included

May 08, 2013

The Federal Aviation Administration said some airport traffic control towers it wanted to close late at night to save money will now be allowed to stay open. But, Wednesday’s announcement does not save some towers at Arizona airports the FAA plans to close this summer.Earlier this year, the FAA announced it would eliminate midnight shifts for air traffic controllers at 72 airports as part of the federal budget cuts. Now the FAA has decided to restore funds for overnight staffing only at towers it operates in some states, but the FAA may still close four private contract towers in Arizona.  

David Gaines is director of the Laughlin/Bullhead Airport, which is among the towers scheduled to shut down in June. He was disappointed the FAA did not restore funding for all of the airports that face spending cuts.

“So we’re still sitting here in limbo. We don’t know whether the FAA is going to keep the contract towers open or what’s going to happen, Gaines said. "So, it just causes your frustration meter to peg out.”

Laughlin/Bullhead has joined 40 other airports in a lawsuit that would force the FAA to keep their towers open. Glendale Muni, Phoenix Goodyear, and Tucson’s Ryan Field also face tower closures.