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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid