Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Nearby Airport Towers to Close

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Nearby Airport Towers to Close

Article excerpt

Air traffic control towers will be closing at airports in Owensboro and Paducah, Ky., as well as Carbondale, Ill., as part of the Federal Aviation Administration?s plan to implement the federal budget cuts known as the sequestration, the FAA announced Friday. Allegiant Air and Cape Air evidently will continue their scheduled commercial flights to Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport, which boarded more than 30,000 passengers in 2012.

?In the preliminary discussions we?ve had, they both told us that they plan to continue flying in and out of Owensboro,? Bob Whitmer, the manager of the Owensboro airport, said Friday afternoon.

?All of our pilots are trained in visual flying, which allows them to safely fly in and out of uncontrolled airspace,? Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler said in an email message.

?We are currently working with each of our airports on the closure list to ensure that we can continue service with little to no disruption,? she said.

?Our operation in Owensboro would not be affected by changes made in tower staffing,? Cape Air spokeswoman Trish Lorino said via email.

?There are additional layers of safety and controls that the FAA and other agencies have built in to ensure that there is no disruption,? Lorino added. ?Passengers may experience five-to 10- minute delays to accommodate procedures that those extra layers require.?

?To our advantage, we have a 8,000-foot runway, which is uncommon? and gives pilots a greater safety margin during landing and takeoffs, Whitmer said. ?Lexington?s is 7,200 feet.?

?We spent $26 million in the last decade extending and reinforcing our runway," he said. "We also spent $2.5 million on a new, state-of-the-art instrument landing system" that helps pilots land without help from an air traffic controller.

"Those are very much in our favor," Whitmer said.

Air traffic also is expected to be monitored by the FAA tower at Evansville Regional Airport, which is a relatively close 34 miles away. It already monitors Owensboro air traffic from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day, he said.

The towers at Owensboro, Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah and Southern Illinois Airport at Murphysboro near Carbondale are among 149 federal contract towers to be closed to meet the FAA's $637 million in cuts required by sequestration. …

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