FAA to close 149 airport towers, including several near D.C.

March 22, 2013

(Jonathan Ernst — Reuters)

After repeated warnings, the Federal Aviation Administration announced on Friday the airport control towers that would be closed due to sequestration budget cuts.

The list includes 149 towers, including at least six in the Washington region, as Lori Aratani reports:

Closures in the D.C. region include the towers at Lynchburg (Va.) Regional Airport and five Maryland airports, including Frederick, Hagerstown, Baltimore, Salisbury and Easton. The Frederick tower has been operating for less than a year. The fate of the Manassas Regional Airport tower, which was on the original list of those were slated to be closed, was not clear.

The announcement followed repeated pronouncements from federal officials outlining how sequestration would snarl air travel. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the cuts would force tower closures, which would lead to lengthy delays. Michael P. Huerta, the head of the FAA, echoed these warnings.

The leading trade group for the airline industry, Airlines for America, has argued that cuts can happen without major furloughs. The Wall Street Journal reported that the group sent a legal memo to federal officials arguing this point, with some officials saying that travelers are being turned into political pawns.

For more on the airport tower closures, make sure to revisit Lori Aratani’s story. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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