WASATCH FRONT, Utah --The Federal government plans to shut down air traffic control towers at the airports in Ogden and Provo, which has some worried about the possible consequences to safety and economies in those areas.
The Federal Aviation Administration sent both airports letters telling them the cuts were a part of sequestration—a series of forced government spending cuts. The move targets 173 airport control towers for closure at small airports across the United States. The FAA said it plans to reduce their expenditures by $600 million this year.
This does not mean those airports will close, but it does mean cities will have to pay for tower control if they want it at their airport. The airports can remain open without the towers, but some worry this could lead to a loss of commercial jet services at those airports.
Ogden-Hinckley Airport Manager Royal Eccles said the change could have an economic impact on Ogden. He also said it could affect air travel into Salt Lake International Airport and Hill Air Force Base.
“We are worried about the amount of safe travel that can happen here because of the amount of congestion we do have,” he said. “We have Hill Air Force Base 3.5 miles off the end of our runway. Their traffic flies right over top of our airport as they are landing.”
Eccles said they plan to fight for their airport, and they have asked members of Utah’s Congressional delegation to help—however the FAA said they expect most of the towers on the list to close.
Appeals to the decision are due next week, and closures are expected to begin on April 7.