The Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday that it will delay the closures of 149 air traffic control towers manned by contract employees until June 15, after saying in March the budget cuts known as sequestration would force the towers to start shutting down Sunday.
The agency said the additional time will allow it to address “multiple legal challenges” to the closure decisions.
“This has been a complex process and we need to get this right,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “Safety is our top priority. We will use this additional time to make sure communities and pilots understand the changes at their local airports.”
The FAA said it plans to stop funding the towers on June 15 and will close them unless the airports obtain other private funding to keep them going.
For more information on this development, see the extended story from Washington Post reporter Lori Aratani.