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Middle Ga. Reg. Airport Asks for Delay in Tower Closing

9:39 PM, Mar 26, 2013   |    comments
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Middle Georgia Regional Airport administrators have asked the FAA to grant 30 more days before shutting down the air traffic control tower.

Airport officials say allowing federal cuts to shut down the tower could cause turbulance for business and safety.

The Middle Georgia tower is one of 149 slated to close.  Manager Doug Faour asked for the extension Tuesday, explaining how the tower makes an impact both on a local and national level.

"The proximity of Robins Air Force Base and the mixing of civilian traffic and military traffic in such a close area was one of the reasons," Faour said.  "There is a number of routine and mission-oriented flights that depart from Robins that could possibly be delayed."

Silver Airways, the airline moving in in April, has issued a statement, saying its pilots will communicate with each other using radios. 

But Faour says, that's not the case for every airline.

He suggests several options, including:

- continuing services with the current contractor, costing between $260 to $510 thousand.

- asking for the city to hire people to staff the tower, costing $180 to $330 in taxpayer funds.

- join a Spokane Airport-led lawsuit, claiming the FAA did not follow the right procedures in determining tower closures.

City attorney Judd Drake says he's looking over the documents, but the lawyer in charge of the litigation told him the suit is likely to only delay the inevitable.

Faour says, of all those options, the last resort is simply to do nothing and allow the control tower to close.

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