Skip to comments.What’s really behind those FAA tower closures?
Posted on 03/23/2013 9:08:57 AM PDT by Kaslin
Sequestration chatter isn’t going away any time soon, and one of the expected headlines is making the rounds again this week. Air traffic control towers at nearly 150 airports across the nation are going to sit empty, forcing pilots to figure out safe landing procedures by a combination of the seats of their pants and furiously cracking open fortune cookies. In other words, you’re all going to die.
The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday told 149 regional airports across the country it would begin closing their air traffic control towers in April, but said it would spare another 40 towers that had been on the chopping block.
The agency said the cuts are necessary to help meet $637 million in forced spending cuts.
The tower closures will begin April 7 and will be phased in over four weeks, FAA Chief Operating Officer David Grizzle said in a memo obtained by CNN.
They need to cut $637M out of their budget, but how big is that budget? And how big of a percentage would you need to slash before you just start shutting down towers? Doug Mataconis thinks there might be a little more to see here than just red and black numbers on a balance sheet. Could it be… politics?
The FAA claims that it cannot cut $600 million from its $58 billion without impacting air traffic control. Honestly, though, I cant believe that this is true. It seems more likely to me that the Administration is phasing in cuts that are designed to have the most public impact in order to win a political battle. Take a fine tooth comb to that budget, guys, before you start risking public safety.
I’m not doubting that for a moment, but somehow I think there’s yet another layer to this onion. It’s not just the number of towers being shut down, but which specific ones. And more to the point… who works there. When you scan down the list of closures, these are all towers which are managed and staffed by private contractors. Not one of them is staffed up by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association union. That’s something of a remarkable coincidence, isn’t it? Maybe not.
No FAA air-traffic facilities will be shut down for at least a year, Doug Church, spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association union, said in an e-mailed statement.
The FAA’s union contract requires that controllers get at least a year’s notice before a facility is closed, Church said. The agency Feb. 22 issued a list of 49 FAA towers that were subject to closing in addition to the private towers.
The union workers will be forced to take off one day without pay every two weeks, which spreads the pain around a little but their jobs and their towers aren’t going away. And leave it to public sector unions to find a way to wring a silver (or green) lining out of any dark cloud. Assume there is some sort of public outcry this year after a couple of regional jets clip wings on the runways of some municipal airports. At that point, Washington gets the excuse they need to staff at least some of the towers back up. Will they go back to the private contractors, or will the unions move in with their “much more efficient” practices?
Time will tell. And we’ll be watching with great interest.
Barry the Sequesterer’s fault.
Like the memo said: “Cancel or suspend the things that will cause the public the most pain”.
Ground Biden and hussein from flying for a week and we should be able to save that much.
Spiteful little weasel.
Worcester is the biggest airport in Massachusetts to lose its ATC tower. Last year, I brought my grandson out there to watch departures and landings. The place is ghost town. Last year it handled about 20,000 passengers, vs. 13,000,000 at Logan. That’s fewer than 60 per day.
The pilots coordinate runway usage over the radio. Except for cowboys who don’t monitor and use the radio, it should never be a problem. Most small airports don’t have any control towers. Flight plans, if used at all, are filed by dropping them in a mail slot.
He is looking for areas that will cause the most pain and suffering, just like releasing the criminal illegal aliens. The illegal criminal aliens are not doing enough damage fast enough, so Soetoro is upping his game.
As a pilot, I really don’t care.... It has relatively little impact... For example, RYY (Cobb County Airport) has a tower that only has radio and is open limited hours.... It is more of an annoyance than a help... ..
After hours, all the pilots coordinate with each other (at night).
This will now just extend to daylight hours.....
Fire them and save the money...
That’s about a 1% cut. I saw a lot of cuts while working in the private sector. I can’t remember any of them being only 1%.
It’s too dangerous for politicians if citizens are allowed to own guns. Or fly airplanes. Or drive cars...
Another notch on Obama’s fail poll.
It’s to cause the most pain, while leaving the ruling elite alone.
I wonder how many crashes and casualties it will take before the public has had enough of Barry’s shenanigans?
No, little barry bastard boy’s regime has its head up the unions’ ass. ALL the workers in the towers to be closed are non-union. Not one union run tower will be closed. If little barry bastard boy was not black and a democrip, he would be up on RICO charges already.
Worcester was always a place to watch air traffic. High on a hill on a summer night away from the city heat while eating an ice cream cone was a treat. My parents took us there once in a while. I took my own little one there to see the Goodyear Blimp. I flew in and out out of Worcester
back in the day. I don’t know why the airport never did succeed. It is a gem. I don’t like using Logan. I can also remember learning to drive in St Johns Cemetery. My dad always said we cannot hurt anyone there. LOL
A 1.13% cut is like a John Kerry Viet Nam boo-boo, and the FAA is asking for a Purple Heart.
But the average public school graduate doesn't know that because they can't do the math.
The Democrats and Bureaucrats depend on the stupidity and ignorance of the average voter. Sadly, that appears to be a winning formula.
“Cowboys” are few in the aviation community. Most incidents come from those who are not current with what is going on and stumble through restricted airspace and fail to read NOTAMS, “notices to airmen”.
Mail slot for flight plans? Who picks up the mail? I just call my local Flight Service Station and file with them.
Obama - the Anti-Reagan.