News / USA

Airport Towers Close Under Forced US Budget Cuts

Airport Towers Close Under Forced US Budget Cutsi
X
March 29, 2013 12:09 AM
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will close 149 air traffic control towers beginning in early April, as part of mandatory spending cuts designed to trim millions of dollars from its budget. Transportation officials say the budget cuts to civil aviation will not compromise safety on the ground or in the skies. VOA's Chris Simkins reports on a community outside Washington where some think shutting down a newly-built control tower is a mistake.
Airport Towers Close Under Forced US Budget Cuts
Chris Simkins
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will close 149 air traffic control towers beginning in early April as part of mandatory spending cuts designed to trim millions of dollars from its budget. Transportation officials say the budget cuts to civil aviation will not compromise safety on the ground or in the skies. A community outside Washington where some think shutting down a newly-built control tower is a mistake.

Air traffic controllers at the Frederick, Maryland, airport will no longer guide pilots around this busy airspace. Under mandatory federal government spending cuts, this control tower - like 148 others at smaller airports across the country - is closing.

"For the tower to close we really would be treading backwards here," said airport manager Kevin Daugherty. He said closing the control tower strips away an extra layer of safety at Maryland's second-busiest airport.

"When you have corporate jets mixing in with flight training traffic, gliders, helicopters, it could be a mess. So that is the reason why the air traffic control tower was built here and opened," said Daugherty.

Shuttering a new tower

The government recently spent more than $5 million to build the tower, which opened last year. Now frustration is growing among contract controllers, like Mamie Ambrose, who are losing their jobs.  

"The FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] felt it was necessary to put a tower here because of the congestion, and now, suddenly, it is not a safety issue. Suddenly they want to close a tower down that hasn't even been open for a year," said Ambrose.

Todd Kirkpatrick moved from South Carolina to work in the Frederick tower. Now, like many contract controllers working at smaller airports, he will have to relocate to find another job.

"I took almost all of my savings and everything to move and transfer up here to take this job. Now here it is, less than a year later, and they're going to close us down. I have to turn around and take what little money is left over and move back [to South Carolina] with no job, collecting unemployment [insurance] because I cannot afford to live here on what unemployment is going to pay," said Kirkpatrick.

Ripple effect

The airport will remain open, but pilots will have to coordinate their takeoffs and landings among themselves over the radio.

Frederick Mayor Randy McClement said the tower closure will harm efforts to attract new business to the area.

"We had a little uptick [increase] in those jets coming to us, the corporate jets, because of the [air traffic control] tower. Some corporations wouldn't fly into the Frederick Municipal Airport because there was no tower," said McClement.

Frederick city officials say they hope closing the airport tower will not affect safety at the airfield, even though it will send important air traffic and business somewhere else.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs