Stillwater News Press

April 2, 2013

Stillwater won't challenge FAA decision to close airport tower in court

By Chris Day
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater won’t join a legal challenge to the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to cut funding for 149 air traffic control towers across the United States.

Airport operators in the state of Washington, Illinois and Florida have filed suits against the FAA decision, accusing the agency of violating federal law meant to make sure major airport changes do not erode safety. The courts have combined the suits into a single case.

Stillwater city councilors discussed the Spokane Airport Board v. Michael P. Huerta, administration, and Federal Aviation Administration lawsuit during an executive session Monday night.

Councilors didn’t take any action on this issue after returning from the executive session. Stillwater Mayor John Bartley said the Stillwater Regional Airport control tower remains a high priority.

The Stillwater Regional Airport Authority is scheduled to have its regular meeting at noon April 18 in the lobby of the airport’s terminal.

Airport staff and authority trustees will continue to look at options, Airport Manager Gary Johnson said following Monday’s City Council meeting.

The Stillwater airport will need approximately $500,000 more per year to keep the control tower operational, Johnson has said.

The FAA was forced by the budget cutting known as sequestration to trim $637 million for the rest of the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.