By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater Regional Airport will stop receiving federal funding for its air traffic controllers in April.
It is on a list of149 towers small airports around the country that were cut from the budget. The FAA was required to trim $637 million from its budget as part of the sequestration that when into effect March 1.
"It's not a happy day for safety," Stillwater Airport Manager Gary Johnson said.. He and the airport's traffic controllers said closing the tower will make the skies hazardous. Without a tower pilots must coordinate takeoffs and landings with each other over radio without assistance from someone on the ground.
Johnson said he isn't giving up. City and airport officials will be meeting in the coming days to look at alternative funding options to keep the tower open. He said under the air-traffic controller contract it would cost approximately $495,000 a year to keep the tower open. The FAA will begin phasing out funding April 7.
Airports were allowed to argue their case to avoid losing tower funding and 24 succeeded, including Enid's Woodring Airport.