FAA To Close 149 Air Traffic Towers

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 22 2013 5:08 PM

149 Airport Towers Will Close Thanks to Sequester

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An air traffic control tower at Salisbury-Ocean City: Wicomico Regional Airport in Maryland, one of the 149 slated for closure

Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration has made it official and released a final list of all the air traffic control towers that will be shut at small airports across the country beginning April 7. The number may seem like a lot, but it's 40 fewer than originally planned, points out Reuters. "Unfortunately we are faced with a series of difficult choices that we have to make to reach the required cuts under sequestration," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

The affected airports won’t be shut down, but rather pilots will have to coordinate takeoffs and landings over a shared radio frequency. That may sound a little odd but the Associated Press says that “all pilots are trained to fly using those procedures.” Still, many in the aviation sector have said that taking away a layer of security will increase risks.

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When the initial list was released, communities launched big lobbying campaigns to keep their towers, points out the Washington Post. The FAA has to cut $637million from its budget until the end of the fiscal year, on Sept. 30 due to the across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect March 1.

See the full list of affected airports here.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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