Airport Control Tower Closure Delayed to June 15

5 years 6 months 2 weeks ago Friday, April 05 2013 Apr 5, 2013 Friday, April 05, 2013 4:54:00 PM CDT April 05, 2013 in News
By: Elise Oggioni
loading

COLUMBIA - Officials at the Columbia Regional Airport were informed Friday by the FAA that the closure of the airport's traffic control tower would be delayed until June 15.

The original date given to the airport for closure was May 5, but the FAA said it wanted more time to evaluate any legal challenges in closing these towers as well as provide extra time for the transition.

Senator Roy Blunt was at the airport Friday to meet with control tower operators and hear their concerns on the closure of the tower. He also expressed his own concerns about safety at the airport if the control operators no longer have jobs at Columbia Regional Airport.

"The concept of closing towers nationally doesn't mean anything to anybody. Let's see what happens once the tower at Columbia is closed and how it all works," Blunt said.

Blunt said he has been fighting this fight for several weeks, and has also now demanded safety reports on the air traffic towers.

"Air traffic is important, air travel is important, but air safety is also important. So, we will shift money to the control towers so they can continue to operate," Blunt said.

Blunt said his staff's budget was cut five percent in case they would have to allocate funds to a project like keeping the airport control tower open. He said they have cut back by keeping certain positions unfilled and cutting back on the amount of travel time they take.

Mayor Bob McDavid said he has also heard a preliminary decision from city leaders as to how they plan to operate Columbia Regional Airport when the tower shuts down.

But no matter what the decision is, Columbia Regional Air Traffic Control Manager LeRoy Welch said private aircrafts will also have to be a part of that decision.

"All airplanes, whether they are larger King aircrafts or private aircrafts, have to be able to see the traffic and be seen in the traffic patterns," Welch said.

If the tower closes, a lot of the reliance on air traffic information would come from Springfield, meaning that pilots flying over or nearing the Columbia area would have to make sure that they are communicating as they fly in mid-Missouri.

When asked their thoughts on pilots having to divert their attention to talk with other pilots, many airline passengers told KOMU 8 News they aren't worried about their safety.

"As a pilot, I know that there are many computer-based systems I can use to see where planes are in the air, so not having someone in a tower is not the end of the world for me," one passenger said.

Other passengers said they also are not concerned about flying through Columbia Regional Airport without control tower operators, but said they would be more concerned if they were dealing with a larger airport like Dallas-Fort Worth or St. Louis.

"It all depends on how many planes you have in the air, and how many flights you have going in and out of a place. Since Columbia isn't really a high-volume airport, I am not concerned that something bad will happen," another passenger said.

When asked if not having operators in a control tower would mean more stories about plane crashes in mid-Missouri, Senator Blunt said there is the potential for stories such as those, but he could not say for certain and people should not worry at this time.

"It's not about the busyness of the airport, but about the traffic in the air that draws concern," Welch said.

According to the FAA, 149 airports across the country will see their control towers go unmanned. The cuts are a product of a sequestration plan from the FAA to help counter automatic spending cuts.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA -The next Mega Millions drawing will take place the night of Oct. 23 at 10 p.m. central time. ... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 3:57:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri's 107th Homecoming has come and gone, but left behind a lot of clean up.... More >>
8 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 10:34:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
HERMANN - Neighbors in the town of Hermann, Missouri are still grieving after a fatal accident involving a trolley killed... More >>
8 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 10:01:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri men’s basketball program suffered a crushing blow Sunday night when it was announced that sophomore power... More >>
11 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 7:34:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in Sports
(CNN) - President Donald Trump announced Saturday that the US is pulling out of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 4:20:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
(CNN) - The Washington Post says Saudi Arabia's announcement about the death of contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi is not an... More >>
16 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 2:28:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
COLE COUNTY - One man is dead after being ejected from his motorcycle during a crash Saturday night. Kin... More >>
21 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 9:15:00 AM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
PECULIAR - Fourth generation dairy farmer Jay Fogle is one of many Missouri milk cow operators who are struggling to... More >>
22 hours ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 8:45:00 AM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - One person was killed in a crash late Saturday night on North Stadium Boulevard (State Route E) near... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 12:47:00 AM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
HERMANN - One person was killed and several people were injured in a crash involving a trolley, according to the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 11:57:00 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- President Donald Trump announced Saturday that the US is pulling out of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 5:11:00 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Nineteen members of Missouri Task Force One returned to Boone County Fire Protection District headquarters Saturday morning after... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 3:16:00 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A man has been criminally charged days after a woman's body was found near Fellows Lake at... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 1:58:08 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A Springfield woman who killed her live-in boyfriend with a crowbar in 2017 has been sentenced to... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 1:48:36 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A restored St. Louis prairie of native grasses and flowers is in bloom, but the nature... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 8:50:24 AM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke about health care in Columbia on Friday at Laborers Local 955, as part of... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:35:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - After realizing the underrepresentation of Hispanic business owners in mid-Missouri, three Hispanic professionals established a group of 12... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:49:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - This is the last week of the regular season and it's a cold one. Our game of... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:20:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in Friday Night Fever
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 41°
7am 43°
8am 44°
9am 48°
10am 53°