Stillwater News Press

April 5, 2013

FAA delays tower funding cuts

Stillwater Regional Airport will ask city to fund tower operations until spending issue is resolved

By Russell Hixson
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Funding for Stillwater Regional Airport’s air traffic control tower will continue until June 15, Federal Aviation Administration officials announced Friday.

As part of $637 million in sequestration cuts, 149 small airport contract towers were scheduled to lose funding in the next two months. The cuts have been protested by airports as officials see it as a threat to national airspace safety.

In a letter to the affected airports, FAA Chief Operating Officer David Grizzle said the additional time will allow the agency to attempt to resolve multiple legal challenges to the closure decisions.

“As part of the tower closure implementation process, the agency continues to consult with airports and operators and review appropriate risk mitigations,” a release states. “Extending the transition deadline will give the FAA and airports more time to execute the changes to the National Airspace System.”

Stillwater Regional Airport will still present its plan for the city to fund the tower as the situation in Washington evolves. Airport manager Gary Johnson said if the plan is accepted by the City Council, which will meet on Monday, city funding for the tower would begin when federal funding ends. The Airport Authority and the City Council have discussed joining lawsuits against the FAA but no action has been taken.