“The U.S. will close 149 air-traffic control towers run by contractors at small- and mid-sized airports on April 7 as a result of automatic budget cuts at government agencies, a trade group said.
The Federal Aviation Administration spared 24 towers on its original list of 173 subject to closing, the Contract Tower Association, which represents companies running the facilities, said today in an e-mail. All towers being shut down are run by private companies, not the government as at larger facilities.
Advocates for pilots and airports said shutting the towers will harm safety and impose economic hardship on businesses such as flight schools that rely on controllers to guide planes.
Spencer Dickerson, executive director of the Alexandria, Virginia-based Contract Tower Association, said it was unfair for the government to shut down more than half the 251 private towers while sparing government-run facilities.