OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) - Air traffic control towers at more than 250 small airports in Wisconsin and elsewhere will be staffed through September under the federal budget adopted last week.
Many of the control towers were slated for closure last year amid federal budget cuts. The towers are operated by private contractors, and the Federal Aviation Administration was looking to end those contracts. The agency later delayed the closings.
The new federal budget contains $140 million for air traffic control contracts to keep the towers staffed through Sept. 30, Oshkosh Northwestern Media reported Tuesday (https://oshko.sh/1ijL3DO ).
Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh is among those with air traffic control towers staffed by contractors. Airport Director Peter Moll said he was pleased by the budget, which requires the FAA to spend the money on air traffic contracts.
But Moll said he expects the issue to come up again during work on the 2015 budget.
“Some people may say it’s case closed, but in the back of our minds, we’re always thinking ahead,” he said. “We’re excited there’s funding included, but this could be coming back up again next year.”
If the FAA cut air traffic control contracts, airports like Wittman would shift to a system that requires all pilots - from students to those operating jets - to communicate with each other to coordinate takeoffs, landings and other maneuvers.
Information from: Oshkosh Northwestern Media, https://www.thenorthwestern.com
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