FAA delays Sawyer tower closure
MARQUETTE – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration recently announced it will delay the closures of all 149 federal contract air traffic control towers until June 15. This includes the Sawyer International Airport tower in Marquette.
Last month, the FAA announced it would eliminate funding for the towers as part of the agency’s required $637 million budget cuts under sequestration. The additional time will allow the agency to attempt to resolve multiple legal challenges to the closure decisions.
As of recently, approximately 50 airport authorities and other stakeholders have indicated they may join the FAA’s non-Federal Contract Tower program and fund the tower operations themselves. This additional time will allow the FAA to help facilitate that transition.
“We will continue our outreach to the user community to answer any questions and address their concerns about these tower closures,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
On March 22, the FAAannounced that it would stop federal funding for 149 contract towers across the country. A phased, four-week closure process was scheduled to begin April 7. That phased closure process will no longer occur. Instead, the FAA will stop funding all 149 towers on June 15 and will close the facilities unless the airports decide to continue operations as a nonfederal contract tower.
The Sawyer International Airport tower will now close on June 15.
It was originally scheduled to close last week.