theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

March 23, 2013

4 Oklahoma air traffic towers axed


The Ada News

Tulsa —  

The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it planned to close four air traffic control towers in Oklahoma as part of a move to reduce its budget by hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Oklahoma control towers to be closed starting early next month are at the Lawton-Ft. Sill Regional, University of Oklahoma Westheimer, Wiley Post and Stillwater Regional airports.

The four towers in Oklahoma are among 149 the agency planned to close nationally. The closures will not force the shutdown of any of those airports, but pilots will be left to coordinate takeoffs and landings among themselves over a shared radio frequency with no help from ground controllers.

The agency will keep 24 federal contract towers open that had been previously proposed.

Stillwater Regional Airport Director Gary Johnson said Friday the tower closure at his facility — the fifth-largest in the state — will cost five jobs and reduce annual flights by up to 20 percent. He estimated the airport had about 60,000 flights last year.