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Friday, March 29, 2013

Illinois Airport Files Lawsuit Over FAA Air Traffic Tower Cuts

Bloomington, Ill.-based Central Illinois Regional Airport is filing a lawsuit against FAA regarding the agency’s plan to cut funding for the air traffic control tower that manages air traffic at its airport.

The tower operating at Central Illinois is one of 149 total towers scheduled to lose FAA funding beginning in April due to the recent five percent cut to the agency’s operating budget, part of the across-the-board government budget cuts known as sequestration. Midwest Air Traffic Control, hired by FAA, currently employs six air traffic controllers (ATC) at the tower, sharing operations with two additional FAA-employed ATCs.

The airport’s executive board said FAA’s decision to close its tower is a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, a law that requires a review process of environmental and socioeconomic factors prior to introducing major changes at airports.

The board plans on providing its own funding for the $500,000 yearly cost to operate the tower if it is unsuccessful in getting a judge to overturn FAA’s decision to close its tower.

“The Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority is committed to a solution that will ensure the air traffic control services at CIRA will continue with or without FAA funding in place,” said Paul Harmon, chairman of the board. More

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