Air Traffic Control Tower Shutdown Delayed

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The Obama administration is delaying the closing of 149 airport control towers until mid-June.

The first 24 closures had been scheduled for Sunday… including the one at Billard Airport in Topeka.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the closures will be delayed now until June 15th.

Trade groups representing companies that operate the towers under contract for FAA filed a lawsuit Thursday in Federal Court in Washington.

The agency says about 50 airport operators and communities have also indicated they may want to pay for operation of the towers themselves, and more time is needed to work out those details.

The FAA has previously said the closures are necessary due to automatic spending cuts.

Senator Jerry Moran said that he and Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut plan to introduce legislation next week that will prohibit the FAA from closing any towers.

Moran released a statement saying:  “While airports and air travelers across the country are breathing a sigh of relief, the Department of Transportation’s decision to delay the closing of air traffic control towers is not a solution. Closing control towers is equivalent to removing stop lights and stop signs from our roads, and there is no reason they should be disproportionately targeted for an arbitrary and unfair 75 percent cut.”

Moran had previously made an unsuccessful attempt to secure funding to keep the towers open.

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